Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year B, 29th April 2018

The one who lives in me, and I in them, will bear much fruit

Today’s readings remind us of the amazing intimacy that God offers us.  Jesus himself invites us to make our home within him – for if we can allow him to live within our hearts, God will make us truly fruitful.

St John’s Gospel shows us this closeness through the wonderful image of the vine and branches. Only when we remain connected to Jesus, the vine, can we bear fruit; cut off from him, we can do nothing at all. As ‘branches’, we may sometimes need pruning – but that process can help us produce more plentiful fruit.

St John similarly reminds us in the Second Reading that God dwells within us through the gift of the Holy Spirit, and we dwell in him. We are urged to be real and active in our loving, for our goal is quite simple: to believe in Jesus and try to love one other as he taught us.

The Psalm of lament Jesus prayed on the cross concludes today with verses of praise and love to God’s faithfulness. We and all nations are invited to worship the Lord joyfully.

Though Saul’s (Paul’s) preaching still upsets the Greek-speaking Jews, the disciples gradually come to accept him, and the local churches experience consolation as they begin to grow. (First Reading)

As I ponder the relationship God yearns to have with me, and the fruit he enables me to bear, perhaps I can pray with St Ignatius: ‘Lord, I want and I choose whatever better deepens your life within me.’

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