5th Sunday of Easter

Published on May 5th, 2012 by Austin Keith | 0

A question that has fascinated the minds of learned men and women since the beginning of time: Do human beings have the ability to “change”? Some philosophers believe that we are born into this world a “blank slate” which is then helped to be formed by family, society and religion. Thousands of individuals have entered into marriage thinking that the other person would “change”!  Sadly, we human beings, when left to our own free will, seldom “flip-flop” into a different person. As the old wives-tale states:  “a leopard doesn’t change its spots!”

Then, of course, there is St. Paul. Zealous, brilliant St. Paul, who once encountered the Risen Jesus on the road to Damascus, became, warts and all, the apostle to the Gentiles. It was only when he became blind that he could truly see. And nobody believed it!  The Acts of the Apostles tells us: “when Saul arrived in Jerusalem he tried to join the disciples, buy they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple.”  (9:26) Who could blame them, could you? It was only when the trusted disciple Barnabas “took charge of him” that Paul became accepted.

The question each of us must ask ourselves is: Do we really allow a loved-one to change? Do we encourage one another when one is down? Do we lend a hand when those that drive us the craziest really call out for help? Do we encourage growth in our individual lives as well as those “others” in our lives? Or do we hold ourselves captive because change is hard; change is the most difficult thing for us to do. We all like the familiar; we all are creatures of habit!

The Lord Jesus makes it perfectly clear that we are always being called to “stretch” ourselves in Him. Our Gospel of St. John emphatically demonstrates that He is the “true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.” (15:1-2) To be “pruned” by God; to “stretch” our minds into believers firm in faith that nothing  outside of Jesus can be good; can produce “good fruit.”  We are told:

“Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned.” (15: 4ff)

Let us always recall, let us always remember: “Nothing is impossible with God.”  The young Church survived because it, at least for a short while, “lived in peace,” a peace that only God can give to us through the magnificence of the Holy Spirit. Pray always that we willingly allow ourselves to be formed and fashioned (“pruned”) by the God that so loved the world that He gave us His Only Son!

God Bless,
Father John