Gospel Reflection – Wednesday, May 1, 2024 – John 15:1-8 – Catholic Bible

First Reading (Acts 15:1-6)

Reading the Acts of the Apostles.

In those days, some came from Judea and taught the brothers of Antioch, saying: “You cannot be saved unless you are circumcised, as the Law of Moses commands.”

This caused a lot of confusion, and there was a great argument between Paul and Barnabas with them. Finally, they decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some others should go to Jerusalem to discuss this matter with the apostles and elders.

After being accompanied by the community, Paul and Barnabas crossed Phenicia and Samaria. They told about the conversion of the pagans, causing great joy among all the brothers.

Arriving in Jerusalem, they were received by the apostles and elders, and they narrated the wonders that God had performed through them.

Some of those who had belonged to the party of the Pharisees and who had embraced the faith, stood up and said that it was necessary to circumcise the pagans and force them to observe the Law of Moses.

So the apostles and elders met together to discuss this matter.

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Gospel (John 15:1-8)

— Proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John.

— Glory to you, Lord.

At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: “I am the true vine and my Father is the farmer. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away; and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes it, so that it will bear more fruit.” yet you are clean because of the word that I spoke to you. Abide in me and I will abide in you, as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, so you cannot bear fruit by itself. you do not abide in me. I am the vine and you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing. These branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be given to you by this, that you may bear much fruit and become my disciples.”

— Word of Salvation.

— Glory to you, Lord.

Reflecting the Word of God

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all on this blessed day. It is with great joy that we gather today to reflect on the sacred scriptures and seek divine guidance for our lives. Allow me to begin our homily with a captivating hook that connects us directly to our daily experiences.

Imagine yourself walking through a busy city, surrounded by hurried and distracted people. You watch the tired and worried expressions on their faces. For a moment, you feel out of place, wondering, “What’s missing from this scene? What are these people looking for?”

Dear ones, the answer is in the words of the gospel proclaimed today. Jesus tells us: “I am the true vine and my Father is the farmer” (John 15:1). What a powerful message! Jesus compares himself to a vine and we are the branches. This image invites us to reflect on our connection with Christ and the importance of remaining united with Him.

Just as a vine provides food and sustenance to the branches, Jesus is the source of life and grace for us. He invites us to abide in Him, to seek our spiritual nourishment from Him. But what does it mean to abide in Jesus?

Dear brothers and sisters, abiding in Jesus implies a deep and intimate relationship with Him. It means being rooted in His Word, seeking His will in our lives and living according to His teachings. It is through this union with Christ that we find true meaning and purpose.

Let us look at the first reading, which tells us the story of the Council of Jerusalem. The Christian community was facing a great controversy over the need to observe Jewish law. Some argued that Gentile converts should follow all Jewish traditions, while others argued for freedom in Christ.

In this context, the apostles and elders gathered to discern God’s will. They listened to the testimonies and arguments presented and, guided by the Holy Spirit, reached a unanimous decision. They wrote a letter to Gentile converts, stating that they were not required to observe all Jewish law, but that they should refrain from certain immoral practices.

This story teaches us about the importance of remaining in Jesus amid life’s controversies and challenges. The apostles sought God’s will in prayer and community discernment, trusting in the guidance of the Holy Spirit. They recognized that union with Christ was more important than the observance of external practices.

Dear ones, we are also called to abide in Jesus, especially when we face challenges and divisions in our community. Instead of clinging to our own opinions and preferences, we should seek God’s will and seek unity in Christ. This requires humility, openness to dialogue and a willingness to listen to each other.

Abiding in Jesus also involves pruning. Jesus tells us: “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away; and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, so that it will bear even more fruit” (John 15:2). Pruning can be a painful process, but it is necessary for our spiritual growth.

Just as a farmer prune the vine to remove unproductive branches and promote healthy growth, God also prunes us. He purifies us from everything that prevents us from bearing fruit and molds us into the image of His Son. Pruning can come in the form of challenges, trials and even fraternal corrections. But we must remember that it is through pruning that we are strengthened and enabled to bear abundant fruit.

Dear brothers and sisters, as we reflect on the truths present in these biblical passages, it is important to relate them to our everyday lives. How can we apply these spiritual principles to our personal journey?

First, we must seek a deeper connection with Christ. Just as a vine needs to be rooted in the soil to receive the necessary nutrients, we must root ourselves in Christ through prayer, reading the Word of God and the sacraments. It is in this union with Him that we find strength, hope and direction.

Furthermore, we need to be open to God’s discernment and will in our lives. Just as the apostles sought the guidance of the Holy Spirit at the Council of Jerusalem, so we must seek the guidance of the Spirit in our decisions and challenges. This requires humility and a willingness to hear God’s voice, often through other members of the Christian community.

Pruning is also part of the spiritual path. Sometimes God allows us to go through trials and challenges to purify and strengthen us. Instead of resisting these difficulties, we should embrace them as opportunities for growth and trust that God is working in us, molding us into his image.

Dear brothers and sisters, I would like to share a story that illustrates these spiritual principles. There was a gardener who grew magnificent roses. People admired his ability to care for plants and asked for advice on how to grow such beautiful roses.

The gardener’s secret was simple. He took time every day to care for his roses. He watered them, pruned away dead branches, and made sure they received the right amount of sun and nutrients. He knew that for roses to bloom, they needed constant care and diligent attention.

Dear ones, just like the careful gardener, God also takes care of us with love and dedication. He invites us to abide in Jesus, to nurture our relationship with Him, and to allow Him to purify and shape us. As we embrace this invitation, our lives become like beautiful roses, radiating the fragrance of divine love and grace.

To conclude, brothers and sisters, may we welcome the message of the Holy Scriptures into our hearts and allow it to transform our lives. Let us remain in Jesus, seeking a deep union with Him through prayer and the study of the Word of God. Let us be open to God’s discernment and will, trusting the Holy Spirit to guide us. And finally, let us accept pruning as a means of growth and purification.

May divine grace strengthen us on this path and enable us to bear abundant fruit for the glory of God. May we be like the roses cared for by the divine gardener, radiating the beauty and love of Christ in our world.

So be it. Amen.