May 2, 2021 — Fifth Sunday of Easter
ACTS 9:26-31; PS 22:26-27, 28, 30, 31-32; 1 JN 3:18-24; JN 15:4A, 5B
Our readings today teach us what it means to bear fruit as disciples of Christ. We hear in each of our readings that it is from the Lord that good effects will be produced in our lives.
In our first reading, we hear about Saul and the other apostles that were preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ and defending the faith. These disciples knew that they were doing the will of God by the good effects of their work, as it states, “The church throughout all Judea, Galilee and Samaria was at peace,” and again, “It was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord, and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit it grew in numbers.”
We must take note that the work they were doing was “with the consolation of the Holy Spirit.” It was not their work alone, but the work of God. They spread the Good News in His name and with the aid of the Holy Spirit.
If we take this reading and apply it to our lives today, we must ask ourselves, ‘how is God bearing fruit in my life?’ and ‘have I invited the Holy Spirit to work in my life?’ The reality is, the more we try to produce good effects in our lives, the more we will become disappointed if all we are relying on is our own efforts. It is only by inviting the Holy Spirit into our everyday moments that we will see goodness poured out.
Jesus clearly tells us how to do this in our Gospel, as He says, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.” We can remain in Christ by staying faithful to His commandments and frequently receiving the sacraments. And our day to day moments should be a reflection of those commitments.
That could mean opening our day with a prayer of thanksgiving, setting aside time for intentional prayer, smiling at those we see on the street, asking God for help as we begin our work day, cleaning up after the kids in gratitude, praising God in moments of trial, taking time to listen to our spouse after a long day. To remain in Christ means, in all that we do, we do it with the Lord.
When we live a life like that—as a branch never separated from its vine—God will produce bountiful fruit in our lives.
And thankfully, all that does not bear fruit will be taken away. As Jesus tells us, “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.” By remaining in Christ, our Lord will remove all the ugly in our lives and form us into more fruitful disciples.
Let us begin this week reflecting on these questions, ‘how is God bearing fruit in my life?’ and ‘have I invited the Holy Spirit to work in my life?’ Then let us consider the areas of our days that we can more fully invite the Lord into. May we strive to stay connected to the Vine.