Skip to main content
site map
contact
home
our twitter
HomeCommentariesJesus is RealPrayDevotion To MaryJournalReflectionsHumorLinks
Archives 2017 to 20193/28/20214/1/20214/2/20214/3/20214/4/20214/11/20214/18/20214/25/20215/2/20215/3/20215-9-20215-13-2021Archives 2020 to 2022
 

Commentary

Sunday, 5/2/2021, Fifth Sunday of Easter

Forgive & It’s All Going to Be Alright

First Reading Commentary: Acts 9:26-31

When an enemy comes to us wanting to reconcile their differences with us proclaiming that they are no longer an enemy but that they are an ally, we are hesitant to believe them. With good reason, we are skeptical and keep them at a distance until they can prove themselves. So, you can imagine that when Paul wanted to meet with the Apostles for the first time after his conversion that the Apostles were afraid and not quick to believe that he had changed. Paul persecuted the followers of Christ and participated in the martyrdom of St. Stephen. So why should the Apostles believe Paul without having proof that he truly was no longer an enemy.

It is difficult to forgive and yet that is what our faith tells us to do. Forgiving without having a reason to believe the offender in their attempt to make amends is a most extreme test of our ability to forgive. Jesus always forgives but Jesus is God and always knows what is in our hearts. The Apostles did not know what was in Paul’s heart. Without proof, they just had to take his word. This was a test for the Apostles to forgive as Jesus forgave and it is a lesson for us.

Because our faith calls us to forgive, when someone comes to us with an apology, we have to accept it. We may have just cause for remaining skeptical but if we do not give the offender the benefit of the doubt in forgiving them, we are not forgiving them at all. We are still holding something against them and in order to forgive, we have to let go of all animosity.

Barnabas was the only one among the Apostles who was able to totally forgive. He took charge of Paul, took him to the other Apostles and testified on Paul’s behalf telling the Apostles about Paul’s conversion, the fact that Paul was speaking boldly in the name of the Lord and that the Hellenist had tried to kill him for proclaiming his faith in Jesus Christ.

Sometimes, we are unable to plead our case on our own. We need someone who has influence on the one that we have previously offended to advocate on our behalf. That is what Barnabas did for Paul. It is also what the Spirit does for us as He works within our conscience. It is what Mary does for us as our Mediatrix with the Son and it is what the Son does for us as our Mediator with the Father.

What happened between Barnabas, Paul and the Apostles presents another lesson for us—God wants us to advocate for, each other. He wants us to do more than just forgive—He wants us to stand by each other, protect each other and when necessary; defend each other.

When we do this, things will ultimately work themselves out because it is God’s way and He will make it happen. That is why Barnabas’ defending Paul was successful. The Apostles accepted Paul in spite of his past zeal in persecuting the followers of Christ. They took him to Caesarea and sent him on his way to Tarsus to begin the ministry given to him by Jesus of proclaiming the Word to the Gentiles.

Everything worked out just fine. The Church was at peace, the people were filled with the Spirit’s gift of fear of the Lord and the Spirit consoled them and the Church grew in numbers. Sounds like a happy ending to the story—right? It is. But there is a deeper message for us. Keep the faith, fear the Lord, forgive others in the same way that we want the Lord to forgive us, love each other enough to always stand by each other and God will take care of everything. It’s all going to be alright! 

Forgiving Keeps the Spirit within Us

Second Reading Commentary: 1 John 3:18-24

The message in today’s reading from John’s first letter is simple: obey the Greatest Commandments and God will be with us always.

Words are cheap without action. If we do not follow up what we say with action, we do not mean what we say and we are not being truthful. So, John tells us to love with deed and truth. Then, we will know that we belong to the truth if we reassure our hearts before God in whatever our hearts condemn.

What does this mean? How can we reassure our hearts before God in something that we have condemned? How can we stand before God and testify that we love our neighbor when, for whatever reason, we have no use for them? How can we love our neighbor if we hold a grudge against them?

When Jesus gave us the Greatest Commandments, He did not say that it would be easy to follow and obey them. It is difficult because forgiving is usually difficult. In fact, it is one of the most difficult things for us to do.

But don’t we feel relieved after forgiving someone in action as well as in words after being offended by that person? It is widely accepted that forgiving is not for the benefit of the offender but the offended. That is why we feel better ourselves after forgiving someone. It is the result of God’s own mercy and forgiveness working within us and this is why and how our own hearts are reassured.

John reminds us that God is greater than our own hearts and that God knows everything. God knows how difficult it is for us more than we can imagine. After all, the Father gave up His Son and the Son willingly gave up His life for our sins which are transgressions against Him and the Father. Jesus did not want to go to the cross, but He did want to obey the Father and He did want to save us. That’s how much He and the Father love us.

And so, it is with us. We may not want to forgive someone but if we are to be like Jesus, then we will obey Him and the Father and we will show our love for them by showing our love for our neighbor. We will forgive them in action and not just words. God will see this in our hearts and give us whatever we ask. And best of all, we will remain in God and He will remain in us in the person of the Spirit.

Bear Much Fruit

Gospel Commentary: John 15:1-8

Today’s Gospel is one of those Gospels in which Jesus is talking directly to each one of us. So, as we meditate on it, put aside the fact that He is addressing the disciples.

Jesus said that He is the true vine, that the Father is the vine grower and that a branch which does not bear fruit will be cut away and people will toss it into a fire to be burned but a branch that does bear fruit will be pruned so that it can bear more fruit.

Jesus is using this analogy to tell us that each of us is a part of His Mystical Body and He is giving us a prediction of hell. Each of us is a branch. Each of us has the same opportunity to bear fruit but some of us will not and will be tossed into a fire. That fire is hell.

When we love God and obey His commandments, we bear fruit and so we are pruned so that we bear more fruit and from this, God is in His glory. God working within us is our being pruned and God’s glory is the fruit.

Jesus told the disciples that they had been pruned because of the word that He spoke to them. We have been pruned by the Good News of the gospel and we continue to be pruned by the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. We are also pruned by the Spirit dwelling within us.

Jesus said, “Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me…Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out…”

Jesus makes two points here. 1- If we separate ourselves from the vine, we cannot bear fruit. In other words, we can do nothing without Him. 2- If we do not stay connected to the vine, we will be thrown out. In other words, we will be denied access to the Kingdom of Heaven and there is only one other alternative—hell.

Then Jesus promised the disciples that if they remained in Him, they could ask Him for anything. Jesus said, “By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit…” In this statement, the fruit becomes more than God’s glory. The fruit is also our blessings. It pleases God to bless us and He is in His glory when He does.

Jesus often times uses few words to say many things. But my impression of this gospel when I first read it was that Jesus used a lot of words to convey one basic message. I think that He used so many words because so many people have a tough time accepting it.

The message is this: The Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is who we should believe in and we can do nothing without them. We cannot declare to be believers in Christ but disagree with or refuse to believe in or protest against anything that Christ said or did. The Trinity—God is in His glory when we do believe in them and we benefit by being with them in heaven for all eternity. There is nothing complicated about that.

Reading 1          Acts of the Apostles 9:26-31

When Saul arrived in Jerusalem he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple.
Then Barnabas took charge of him and brought him to the apostles, and he reported to them how he had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.
He moved about freely with them in Jerusalem, and spoke out boldly in the name of the Lord.
He also spoke and debated with the Hellenists, but they tried to kill him.
And when the brothers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him on his way to Tarsus.

The church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria was at peace.
It was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord, and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit it grew in numbers.

Responsorial Psalm        Psalm 22:26-28, 30-32

R. (26a) I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people. or: R. Alleluia.

I will fulfill my vows before those who fear the LORD.
The lowly shall eat their fill; they who seek the LORD shall praise him: “May your hearts live forever!”
R. I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people. or: R. Alleluia.

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD; all the families of the nations shall bow down before him.
R. I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people. or: R. Alleluia.

To him alone shall bow down all who sleep in the earth; before him shall bend all who go down into the dust.
R. I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people. or: R. Alleluia.

And to him my soul shall live; my descendants shall serve him.
Let the coming generation be told of the LORD that they may proclaim to a people yet to be born the justice he has shown.
R. I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people. or: R. Alleluia.

Reading 2          1 John 3:18-24

Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.
Now this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth and reassure our hearts before him in whatever our hearts condemn, for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything.
Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence in God and receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
And his commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us.
Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them, and the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit he gave us.

Gospel          John 15:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”

Wear the mask!
Wash your hands!
Maintain social distancing!
Pray for our leadership!

Get the vaccine!

Saint Athanasius
5/2/2021
(c. 296 – 5/2/373)

The Apostles were afraid of Paul because of his past zeal in persecuting the Church until Barnabas stood up for him.

Encountering God

In its fullness, prayer is an encounter with God that transforms the way we see and interact with the world. As so many saints have suggested, it is like a bright light that reveals what we otherwise do not see.—from Called: What Happens After Saying Yes to God

Love not in words alone but in deeds and actions.

Alleluia John 15:4a, 5b

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Remain in me as I remain in you, says the Lord.
Whoever remains in me will bear much fruit.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Jesus said, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower." We are the branches.

Saints of the Week

Sts. Philip and James
5/3/2021
Patron Saint of: Uruguay

Blessed Michael Giedroyc
5/4/2021
(c. 1425 – May 4, 1485)

Saint Hilary of Arles
5/5/2021
(c. 401 – 5/5/449)

Sts Marian and James
5/6/2021
(d. 5/6/259)

Saint Joseph the Worker
5/7/2021
(2/9/1656 - 5/7/1728)

Saint Peter of Tarentaise
5/8/2021
(1102 - 1175)

Site Powered By
    WebBizBuilder Site Manager
    Online web site design