Sunday, May 03, 2009

Monday of the 4th Week of Easter

Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter (Year 1)
*Good News Reflection*
Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter
May 4, 2009
*Today's Readings:*
Acts 11:1-18
Ps 42:2-3, 43:3-4
John 10:1-10
*The gate that leads to breakthroughs*
Are you at an impasse in your spiritual growth or emotional healing or a difficult relationship? Do you need a breakthrough? Do you feel stuck behind a fence that's keeping you on the outside of peace, joy, satisfaction, or healing?
Today's Gospel reading tells us that Jesus is the gate in that fence. He's an open gate. He opened himself to you 2000 years ago. He wants you to reach the heavenly side of the fence, where you can live outside the realm of earthly restrictions — not only when you die and enter eternal life, but now, here, so that you "might have life and have it more abundantly."
What breakthrough are you hoping for? What's frustrating you and seems hopeless? What's causing you to think that a problem you're facing might lead to disaster and destruction?
What will you do this week to follow Jesus more closely so that you can get through this with more abundant peace?
When our paths seem blocked, we can only make progress by letting Jesus shepherd us around and through and over the obstacles.
For example, when a relationship is hurtful and we try to improve it but the other person doesn't want to do the work that's required for growth and healing, Jesus is our open gate. Not only does he comfort us and cry with us, but he also gives us what we don't receive from the other person. Sometimes he leads us to a different pasture, especially if that other person is more like a dangerous wolf than a sheep who's following him.
When God commissions us to do something but others shut the door on us, Jesus is our open gate. He will lead us into a new opportunity for accomplishing the work. When a holy desire seems to have no outlet, instead of complaining or quitting, we must stay close to Jesus so we can follow him through the gate that he's opening wide, even though it will be in a location that at first is not what we expect. Until we get all the way through his gate, we must follow like dumb sheep.
There's a journey to take before we can reach the other side of the fence. The thief that comes to steal and slaughter can only reach us when we quit following Jesus because we've taken our eyes off of him.
Despair and worry are two common thieves. They rob us of peace, joy, satisfaction, and healing. But they're not as powerful as they pretend to be. They do not speak the truth. They are merely trying to make us forget that Jesus is our Good Shepherd and that he's safely guiding us into a life of abundant victory.

© 2009 by Terry A. Modica
For PERMISSION to copy this reflection, go to:

4th Sunday of Easter

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

Parish bulletins, faith-sharing groups, RCIA:
To distribute copies of this reflection, please order the
printer-ready leaflet from Catholic Digital Resources:

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
* To join and become a member, go to:

© 2009 by Terry A. Modica; All Rights Reserved.
To share this with others, see our copyright permission page.

Renew the Face of the Earth

Lord Send out Your Spirit In commemoration of the completion of the Year of St. Paul! Check out for higher resolution versions!