Fifth Sunday of Easter
Acts 9: 26-31
I John 3:18-24
John 15: 1-8
I went home last Sunday to visit my 95-year-old father, and my siblings also came home. It was pure heaven!
I have given much thought to what I might say at my father’s funeral in the last couple of years. It shouldn’t be for a while, but I want to be ready. As I was driving back carrying a world of emotions, it came to me, of what I might say. Dad said at least a dozen times, “I am so grateful that we have stayed connected as a family all these years.” (Tell the story of Mr. Mig and show picture.) Our readings have a lot to do with staying connected and how do we do it well.
Our first reading is all about staying connected as Saul tries to join the other disciples in Jerusalem. Of course, they are terrified of him because he has been persecuting and killing Christians. Barnabas stands up and tells the others that Saul is now connected to the vine, just as they are, and they are no longer afraid. We are told there is peace in the Jerusalem Church.
Our Gospel is also about staying connected as Jesus says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. If branches do not bear fruit, they will be pruned away. If you stay connected, you will bear much fruit.” Well then, how do we stay connected? We remain connected to Christ by receiving Him in the Eucharist.
However, there is more to this powerful passage, and it is the part that I have never preached on because it is almost too scary or too unbelievable. At the end of this passage, Jesus says, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want, and it will be given to you.” We struggle with this because of the first two things. We struggle to stay connected to Christ, and we struggle to believe that His word is true.
My friends in Christ, the truth to all that is being told to us today is making every ounce of our energy staying connected to that vine of Jesus Christ. When we stay connected to Christ in the Eucharist, we will know life in abundance!