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Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:

May 14, A.D. 2006

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:

Acts 14:5-15
Psalm 115:1-4, 15-16
John 14:21-26

A brief reflection on today's Scripture passages:

Soon after the early Church began to grow, a major event occurred. Saul of Tarsus, one of the most feared and hated persecutors of Christians, miraculously converted to Christianity. No one could have predicted the startling accident that befell Saul on his way from Jerusalem to Damascus. He was knocked off his horse, and struck blind by a divine shaft of light that left him blind and helpless. He was directed by a Voice to seek out one Ananias who would give him further directions. The rest is history.

It was surely a miracle of grace that often-bitter fighting between various factions did not split the Church apart and destroy it Furthermore, many were sorely tested when friends and relatives opposed them or even betrayed them to the authorities. What saved the whole enterprise was surely the teaching we find in today’s second reading. John tells his followers “…love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.” We must not merely “mouth” the beautiful teaching of Jesus, but work on the difficult task of living those words.

All of the disciples must likewise have found great consolation in the powerful image of today’s Gospel. In the great farewell address of Jesus at the Last Supper, He tells his disciples: “I am the vine; you are the branches.” Think about it! As a branch cannot survive if it is separated from the vine, neither can we survive if we sever our connection with Jesus. He is constantly strengthening us with grace, just as a vine gives life moment by moment to its branches.

Sometimes we take to ourselves all the credit for the resulting growth within us. We even try to control the directions in which our faith life is shared. We like to pick our own ministries, rather than allow the Lord to have a say in the decision. Then, when our activities are “pruned” through failure, illness, or other disappointments, we can complain or become bitter.

At those times, we need to be more trusting, and realize that perhaps God’s Providence has broader plans for our growth and the growth of His kingdom. Without pruning, a vine may look flourishing and healthy, but it will produce much less fruit. Likewise, if we are to be fruitful members of Christ, we must sacrifice our own plans and projects for what the Lord has in mind.

After all, Christ is the vine, and we are only branches!

- Msgr. Paul Whitmore
(smartins at frontiernet dot net)

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Lives of the saints:

Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:


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