Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady
Fifth Sunday of Easter
Separate me from myself and from all that is not you, in order to unite and incorporate me with you. Empty me of myself and of all things, destroy me utterly, in order to fill me with yourself and to form and establish yourself in me. Cause me henceforth to be a perfect image of yourself; just as you are a most perfect image of your Father. — St. John Eudes http://origin.ewtn.com/devotionals/inspiration.asp#6
First Reading: Acts 9:26-31
Psalm 22:26-28, 30-32: I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people.
Second Reading: 1 John 3:18-24
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.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/050612.cfm
Video Reflection: http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/
Reflection: Why does Jesus speak of himself as the true vine? The image of the vine was a rich one for the Jews since the land of Israel was covered with numerous vineyards. It had religious connotations to it as well. Isaiah spoke of the house of Israel as “the vineyard of the Lord” (Isaiah 5:7). Jeremiah said that God had planted Israel “as his choice vine” (Jeremiah 2:21). While the vine became a symbol of Israel as a nation, it also was used in the scriptures as a sign of degeneration. Isaiah’s prophecy spoke of Israel as a vineyard which “yielded wild grapes” (see Isaiah 5:1-7). Jeremiah said that Israel had become a “degenerate and wild vine” (Jeremiah 2:21). When Jesus calls himself the true vine he makes clear that no one can claim their spiritual inheritance through association with a particular people or bloodline. Rather, it is only through Jesus Christ that one can become grafted into the true “vineyard of the Lord”.
Jesus offers true life – the abundant life which comes from God and which results in great fruitfulness. How does the vine become fruitful? The vinedresser must carefully prune the vine before it can bear good fruit. Vines characteristically have two kinds of branches – those which bear fruit and those which don’t. The non-bearing branches must be carefully pruned back in order for the vine to conserve its strength for bearing good fruit. Jesus used this image to describe the kind of life he produces in those who are united with him – the fruit of “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). Jesus says there can be no fruit in our lives apart from him. The fruit he speaks of here is the fruit of the Holy Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23).
There is a simple truth here: We are either fruit-bearing or non-fruit-bearing. There is no in-between. But the bearing of healthy fruit requires drastic pruning. The Lord promises that we will bear much fruit if we abide in him and allow him to purify us. Do you trust in the Lord’s abiding presence with you?
“Lord Jesus, may I be one with you in all that I say and do. Draw me close that I may glorify you and bear fruit for your kingdom. Inflame my heart with your love and remove from it anything that would make me ineffective or unfruitful in loving and serving you as my All.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/may6.htm
Saint of the Day: Blessed Gerard of Lunel (13th century)
Gerard, born into a noble family in southern France, showed an early inclination to piety—so much so that he received the habit of the Third Order of St. Francis at the age of five. When he was 18, Gerard and his brother, Effrenaud, hid themselves in a cave on the banks of a river and began two years of living as hermits. Both brothers then decided to go on a pilgrimage, in part to discourage the many visitors to the hermitage who had heard of their reputation for holiness. Making their way to Rome on foot, they spent two years there, visiting its many famous churches and shrines.
They intended to continue to Jerusalem, but Gerard collapsed on the way. While his brother went to seek help, he left Gerard in a simple cottage near Montesanto, Italy, but Gerard expired before his brother’s return.
Many miracles are said to have taken place at Gerard’s tomb, making it a favorite place of pilgrimage. People who were afflicted with headaches or subject to epilepsy experienced special relief through his intercession. The city of Montesanto has long venerated Blessed Gerard as its principal patron. He is sometimes known as Gery, Gerius or Roger of Lunel. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1375
More Saints of the Day
Bl. Anna Rosa Gattorno
Bl. Anthony Middleton
Bl. Francis de Laval
St. Lucius of Cyrene
Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.