Fifth Sunday of Easter
May 2, 2021
Today, we are called by the scriptures to speak and live boldly. Living boldly is acting in ways consistent with the Gospel, especially toward the poor. Living boldly means loving God and our neighbors.
Boldness in action helped the apostles spread the Good News. In our reading today from the Acts of the Apostles, we learn about Saul (later know as Paul). His is introduced to the Apostles. Previously, he had persecuted Christians. He had a vision and encounter with Christ that led to his conversion, a change of heart and attitude. Barnabas vouches for Saul.
Today’s reading from the First Letter of John, expresses a similar idea. The author affirms acting boldly by writing, “Let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.”
In our Gospel from John, we hear Jesus speak metaphorically about relationships. The Father is the vine grower, Jesus is the vine, and the disciple are the branches. Jesus helps his followers. The Father cultivates the vine so that the branches bear fruit. He discards those that are not productive. Jesus uses this imagery because it would have been familiar to his audience. John uses this image toward a positive outcome. Jesus states that those who remain in him, understanding and living out of the Gospel will bear fruit. Being ‘in Christ’ is being active in the pursuit of justice, not just in word or speech.
This past Wednesday, April 21, I gathered with my brother priests of the Archdiocese for our annual convocation. During that day of reflection and prayer, we devoted part of our time to the issue of racism. We heard from Bishop Sheldon Fabre, chair of the U.S. Bishops Ad Hoc Committee on Racism, Archbishop Schnurr, two professors from the University of Dayton, and four of our fellow Catholics who shared about their experiences of racism in their lives. It was a powerful event which carried forth the message of ‘Open Wide Our Hearts: An Enduring Call to Love’, the 2018 pastoral letter on racism from the U.S. bishops. Our Archdiocese is actively engaged in confronting the sin of racism, and there is still much work to do. I ask that you pray for these efforts to continue to bear good fruit.
Have a blessed week! Fr. Len