Sunday, May 03, 2009

4th Sunday of Easter

Good News Reflection
FOR NEXT SUNDAY: May 10, 2009
Fifth Sunday of Easter, Cycle B

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Next Sunday's Readings:
Acts 9:26-31
Ps 22:26-28, 30-32
1 John 3:18-24
John 15:1-8

As we see in next Sunday's Gospel reading, all of us who belong to Christ are fruit-bearing branches of one vine. Jesus is the vine, and because we are all attached to him, we share the same calling: to bear good fruit. And not just any fruit that seems good, but the same fruit that Jesus produced.

However, most of us underestimate how important this is! Stop underestimating how necessary it is for YOU to produce Christ's fruit — and more of it — today. Too many Christians settle for mediocrity. As long as we get some personal satisfaction from being Christian, we feel all too satisfied. As long as we're helping some people with our kindness or generosity or love, we think God is satisfied with the good fruits we're producing.

Have you ever asked why there's so much evil in the world? Why doesn't God raise his almighty hand against war, against terrorism, against unemployment, against the greed of high-salaried managers who lay off their employees while giving themselves huge bonuses, against the perpetrators of physical and emotional abuse, against pro-abortion legislation, against poverty, against rising crime rates, or against any evil that's corrupting our world?

Why doesn't God do something?

Actually, HE DOES! However, he does it the same way he grows grapes. The energy of the vine (Jesus) travels through the vine to the little twigs (you and me and all Christians) that hold the grapes. The more open we are to receiving nourishment from Christ, the more fruit Jesus produces through us. But the grapes are not supposed to stay there!

We're nourished by Christ in order to take his fruits abundantly out into the world. We must grow strong and healthy, branch out, and use everything we've received from Christ for the sake of others.

Evil is stopped to the extent that we Christians continue Christ's earthly ministry. Victory over evil comes from Christ, that is, THROUGH us from Christ. Holiness in the world comes from Christ's Holy Spirit actively transforming it through our holiness.

Questions for Personal Reflection:
Are you doing everything you can to grow the best grapes on your branch of Christ's vine? How healthy is your connection to Christ? What in your life needs to be pruned off because it's not producing full, abundant fruit?

Questions for Community Faith Sharing:
Name some of the things we do that fertilize the vineyard. What has helped your branch grow stronger and bear more fruit? How does ignoring the need to prune ourselves hinder the growth of good fruit — evil-defeating good fruit?

STARTING ON MONDAY, if you're a member of the "Emmaus Journey" e-group, share your answers by writing to
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© 2009 by Terry A. Modica; All Rights Reserved.
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