May 3rd, 2015 – Fifth Sunday of Easter – Year B

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Just when we think we can sing no more, when even Easter joy seems exhausting, the liturgy demands once again: “Sing! O sing a new song to the Lord, for he has worked wonders” (Entrance Antiphon). The Collect seems to sense our need for encouragement and so prays that we may “come to the joys of life eternal.” But how are we to find endless joy and strength to praise God unceasingly?

The Second and Gospel Readings offer keys: we find strength and joy because we are joined to Christ. The Gospel Reading and Communion Antiphon draw on the image of the vine: Christ the vine is the source of our life and of the good fruit we bear. The Second Reading points to the Holy Spirit as the binding force that joins us to the divine mystery. Both this reading and the Prayer over the Offerings highlight the divine knowledge the spirit brings.

These images of connection and knowledge point to the Church, the people grafted onto Christ the vine and enlivened by the Spirit. Each one of us, as people who profess that Jesus is our Lord and believe in our hearts that he rose from the dead, are part of the vine of Christ. Among the “outward and visible signs” of connection with the source of life we have been given the sacraments, with the central symbol of the cup of salvation in the blood of Christ. The true bread [like the true vine] comes down from heaven.

May we each draw close to our Lord and share his risen life as we abide in him and are nourished as we share the gift of His risen life at every Mass.