Livonia, Michigan

Fifth Sunday of Easter

By the Faithful Disciple

“Where do they get their energy!” Maybe you’ve said that about your children as they run around the yard while you’re trying to wrangle them inside for bedtime. Jokes abound about how sugar and caffeine are what keep most adults going, but we know it’s proper nutrition, exercise, and rest that enable us to do well whatever it is we do. That is all relevant to us physically. What about spiritually? Bishop Barron, writing on the Gospel, says, “Jesus declares that he is the vine, and we are the branches. He is the power and energy source in which we live.” (Word on Fire Bible, 548) Just as we see the effects of sugar and caffeine on people, we see the supernatural effects of Jesus’ love on, and in, people. As he nurtures us with his perfect love, and that flows into us who are grafted onto him, it changes us. It transforms us and converts us away from sin and toward God. We fill up on that spiritual fuel in the sacramental life of the Church and become a witness to it in how we go about our days – loving one another.

“Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.” These words from John in our second reading provide the perfect bridge between the ministry of Paul, about whom we heard in the first reading, and Christ’s message in the Gospel. With Jesus as “the power and energy source in which we live,” we not only can profess the truth, but live it. We not only give our own account of Christ working in us, as Paul did, who came to them speaking out “boldly in the name of the Lord,” but we stand beside one another, as Barnabas did, vouching for Paul to the Apostles. We are united in baptism, in love, in profession of faith, and in communion with one another. When we consistently act in a Christian manner toward others and keep God’s commandments, John says, we “remain in him, and he in [us], and the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit he gave us.” In other words, those who remain in Christ “will bear much fruit” – a tangible sign that easily answers the question, “where does he/she get her energy?”

Is there anything in your life that is an obstacle to Jesus being the power and energy source in which you live? Are your days fueled more by anger, frustration, or ambition than his love? Pray this week in thanksgiving to God for where he has given you conversion of heart and ask him for the grace to see where improvement is needed and the will to make it happen.