Friday, May 4, 2012

Homily 5th Sunday of Easter Year B: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo

Homily 5th Sunday of Easter Year B: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
Readings: Acts 9: 26-31 Ps 22:26-32; 1 John 3:18-24 and John 15:1-8
Remaining in Christ Jesus

In the last discourse of John’s Gospel which we began reading last Sunday, Jesus continues to remind his disciples, of who he is. Jesus is not only the Way to  the Father, he is the Truth,the Life (John 14), and the Vine (John 15), to whom we must remain as branches. He knew that his death would be devastating to the disciples, humanly speaking. We saw this in the conversation the two disciples on the way from Emmaus had. We saw this in Mary Magdalene. We saw this in Thomas and others.

After his resurrection, Jesus would not only have to appear to them here and there, but sometimes would eat fish with the disciples to show that he was still there with them. Apart from his appearances he knew he would ascend to the Father who sent him originally. Although the coming down of the Holy  on the Church was on the way, it was important for Jesus to stress the importance of his disciples sticking with him, remaining with him, holding onto Jesus, his teachings, after he was gone physically.

He uses the imagery of the vine and the branches to drive home his point. Jesus is the vine, the source of life and nourishment, and we are the branches- nourished by the vine. Whoever remains in him bears abundant fruits- because without Christ we can do nothing. Vine branches you know can’t survive on it’s own without the parent tree.

Take faith for example. Faith, trust is a wonderful gift, and a fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is that spiritual nourishment that comes only from Christ the vine. As we are told in the 1st reading, it was not easy for the Disciples of Christ in Jerusalem to trust the repented Saul. They knew him to be a terrorist, a murderer and a persecutor of Christ. It takes faith and nourishment from God for us to trust one another, not to be afraid of one another, - to see ourselves and brothers and sisters in the Lord. We need each other.

What about the fruit of joy, peace in peace less world of today? What about patience in a world that everybody is in a hurry today? What about kindness, goodness, faithfulness to our vows and church’s teachings that sometimes slip away from custody? What about gentleness and self-control in a modern world filled with greedy tendencies? What the commandment of forgiveness and love (Gal 5:22); or allowing Christ to take control of us, to prune us so that we can bear much fruits.

First John says today, “ those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them, and the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit he gave us” (1 John 3:18-24). In other words, the best ways to remain in Christ is to live joyfully, lovingly, peacefully, selflessly, with patience-endurance, allowing Christ to prune us, forgiving those who have offended us, and showing sincerely, kindness to one another.