Wednesday of the 5th Week of Easter

John 15:1-8

The Vine and the Branches

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

When she was younger, my mother loved to grow and tend roses. She spent early mornings either watering or putting fertilizer around the plants. But each year there was one morning when she did something different. With pruning scissors, she would cut off a lot of branches from the plants. After pruning, the rose garden looked like it just had a terrible haircut. It did not look neat at all. However, after some days new branches came out and at the height of the flowering season, full and luscious roses of all colors! Pruning does wonders!

“Pruning” is one consequence of our relationship with Jesus. He says: “”I am the vine and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit and everyone that does he prunes so it bears more fruit.”

The dictionary defines pruning as trimming by lopping off superfluous or unwanted parts. We are all aware of things in us that need to be pruned. A man, who can be you and me, drives his car every morning to the office. He gets terribly affected by the traffic and profusely blurts out expletives each time another car cuts into his lane. He arrives at the office hot-headed, affecting his work and his associates.\he tries to overcome, to “prune,” so to speak, his attitude. This time, when caught in a traffic mess, the thought that he’s not the only traffic victim is a consolation. To the aggressive driver, he utters out a prayerful ‘bless you’ in place of an expletive. He arrives at the office cool and collected….more fruitful and productive.

What is superfluous in you that is better pruned so that your union with Jesus, the true vine, will grow and be more fruitful? (Fr. Gerry del Pinado, SVD Bible Diary 2004)

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A teacher at a kindergarten school asked her students to bring their favourite fruits in the class. After the discussion, it was agreed upon that the fruits will be eaten. As they were about to eat, one student stood before the class and suggested that they all reflect – the eternal source of life.

The gospel today reminds us that as “branches we belong to the vine and the vine to its branches” so we belong to Him and He belongs to us. In our trails and moments of critical decisions and even when we turn away from Him , God simply remains in a relationship that is unconditional, a relationship that is life giving and fruitful, only as long as we stay connected with Him.

The only way to bear fruit is to remain faithful, to be rooted in prayer and in upholding and living the truth. The Lord is very clear. He wants us to be connected with Him so we may bear fruit ‘til we reach the fullness of life. (Fr. Nestor Sibug, SVD Bible Diary 2005)

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Filipinos are known to be cell phone enthusiasts. You can see them almost everywhere with this gadget on their hands. According to a report the first Filipino who died in Iraq was ambushed when he left the security camp to buy a ring tone for his cell phone. To ask why we are so fascinated with communication is just stating the obvious. Filipinos love ‘connectedness.’ We are a family and community-oriented people.

In our gospel Jesus says: “I am the true vine…remain in me as I remain in you…that you may have life.” He is reminding us to remain connected with Him otherwise, we cannot bear fruit. Disconnected, we degenerate into withered branches to be thrown away and burned. The imagery of a vine had been used in the Old Testament but not apart from the idea of ‘degeneration.’ Israel has been presented several times by Isaiah as a vineyard that had degenerated to a vine of a strange variety.

Christ points out that no one can be saved unless he establishes an intimate living relationship with Him, for only in our friendship with Him that we bear fruit. We cannot be saved by simply claiming we are Christians and then doing something contrary. Our life must bear fruit because uselessness invites disaster. Jesus in His public ministry remained connected to His Father which became the source of His strength. Thus, we find Him in many instances praying to the Father, for in prayer he found union and fidelity to His mission. (Fr. Melchor Cagape, SVD Bible Diary 2006)

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One day Julia Ward Howe was talking to Charles Summer, a distinguished Senator. She asked him to interest himself in the case of a person who needed some help. The Senator answered: “Julia, I’ve become so busy that I can no longer concern myself with individuals.”

Julia’s reply was: “Charles that is quite remarkable. Even God has not reached that stage yet.”

Busy people tend to see themselves productive. But often enough, they forget the essentials of life. In the end, they are missing something, the fruit of their labor.

Jesus’ message in today’s gospel: “Remain in me as I remain in you.” God in governing the universe has always the time to remain in us; He is a faithful and very personal God. God in our life, we are like a fish out of the water gasping for breath or a withered branch separated from the tree.

Are we busy with our own concerns or are we busy with the things of God? God is for us. Let’s not abandon Him because of pride, sin, doubt or disbelief. God is faithful (Fr. Alex Vitualla, SVD Bible Diary 2007)

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The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic elementary school for lunch. At the lead of the table was a large pile of apples. The nun made a note and posted it on the apple tray: “Take only one. God is watching.” Moving further along the lunch line, at the other end of the table was a large pile of chocolate cookies. One child whispered to another: “Take all you want, God is watching only the apples.”

This story tells us that the children’s idea of God is one who is strict and disciplinarian. They think they are free to do things if they feel He is not watching them. I hope this is due to their limited idea of God and not because this is what parents, teachers and catechists taught them.

Knowing God and His presence in our life is not enough. Knowing His words is more important. His words tell us what he wants us to do. His words serve as our daily guide in this life’s journey. His words lead us to produce a good and fruitful life. His words keep us in touch with Him. He does not only watch over us; He is with us and remains with us. (Fr. Jun Rebayla, SVD Bible Diary 2008)

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Autumn or fall, is one of the most beautiful and colourful times of the year in countries with four seasons. Nature turns into one magnificent visual masterpiece in all its grandeur. The leaves of trees turn from green to yellow, then to orange and brown, until they fall to the ground. When the leaves have fallen, then it is high time to prune trees and vines, until they bloom again in spring. Only the unnecessary branches are removed; the trunk remains.

When Jesus said: “I am the vine you are the branches,” he means that he means that he is the trunk, the center of the tree the part which survives the cold winter. The trunk is strong and constant. It is not a dead trunk but a tree full of inner life waiting for its resurrection in spring. Indeed, nature celebrates the resurrection in springtime when leaves begin to grow, flowers bloom and the sun shines longer.

The “autumn of the soul” invites us to let go of our unnecessary leaves and dead branches. These are our attachments, weaknesses, sin and wrong priorities. Pruning our soul is not an easy task. Alone we cannot do it. With God’s help and prayer, we can be trimmed and purified. He does the pruning. He knows what needs to be removed, changed and renewed. We just let Him do it.

This gospel mentions the word “remain” eight times. There is a need to be with Him – when we feel secured, accepted, loved and forgiven. In Him, we have everything. We remain in Him when we read His Word, when we see the wonders in nature, when we celebrate the Eucharist together, and when we say a little prayer or light a candle.

Jesus reminds us today that He is there for us, even if sometimes we are not aware of His abiding presence. He will never fail us for he is our refuge, our true vine, our true life.. amidst the many rapid changes happening around and in us, Jesus remains constant, faithful and unchanging. (Fr. Adonis Narcelles, SVD Bible Diary 2009)

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April 27, 2016 Wednesday

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.”

The grapevine needs pruning and trimming. But what part of the vine should be pruned? There are three parts of the grapevine that a good vine dresser trims.

First are the dead branches. These should be cut off because they are worthless.

Second, the leaves of the branches. Grapevines grow a lot of leaves. They look very green and very nice; but they, too, have to be pruned, because they sap the vital uid of the vine. Grapevines may not like it, of course; but if many leaves are allowed to grow, the grapevine cannot bear many fruits.

The third are the sucker shoots. Grapevines sprout many sucker shoots that grow where a branch joins the stem. These shoots are called sucker shoots because they suck the energy of the vine.

Instead of producing fruits, the grapevine produces a lot of leaves because of these sucker shoots.

It is noteworthy that a good vine dresser prunes the grapevine for three years successively. A young grapevine should not be allowed to bear fruit. Only after three years of pruning, cutting, and trimming can it bear good and sweet grapes.

In our Christian life, we, too, need a lot of pruning. For example, our green leaves of pride should be pruned by the Lord, so that we may become meek and humble. Our “sucker shoots” of selfishness, self-suffi ciency, and stubbornness should also be trimmed by the Lord so that we may become obedient and mindful of the other. (Fr. Raymun J. Festin, SVD CKMS, Quezon City Bible Diary 2016)

hrveritas-asia.org/index.php/daily-reflection/614-april-27-2016-wednesday

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UNITY IN SPITE OF (Acts 15:1-6, John 15:5): The first reading speaks of conflict. The conflict is one between Jewish Christians and Greek Christians. It is a conflict between progressives and conservatives, between those who want to remain and those who want to go. It was a church of tension and a church of conflict.

The opposite can be found in the Gospel. Here, there is no conflict. It is so idyllic and nice to hear the words, “I am the vine you are the branches.” What more can you ask for? I am the vine and you are the branches. And yet these two realities of tension and communion are only two sides of one coin we call the Church.

The Lord did not say, “I am the vine and you are all branch.” He said, “You are the branches.” We are many branches, and as a result, we can have differences. We are many unique from one another. Because we are many, because we are different from one another, there could, indeed, be tension in our relationships. But the key, my dear brothers and sisters, is that if all branches are attached to the vine – the Lord – we have communion despite our differences.

Right now as we celebrate the Eucharist, as we sing songs and make our responses, we can indeed be like the vine and branches. We are different from one another but are the same in what we receive – our Lord. After the Mass, we would still be different but need not quarrel because of it. We already have a basis for our unity which is the fellowship we have with our Lord.

Today let us lift up to the Lord our relationships, our friendships, our families, our hopes and our little communities in our offices. Let us not deceive ourselves into thinking the perfect Christian community is always without conflict. The Christian community is not spared from controversy. The Christian community thrives beyond controversy, in controversy, in conflict and decision, because our guiding force is God. (Socrates Villegas, Jesus in my Heart, pp. 104-105).

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HOW WILL YOU GROW? “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.” – John 15:1

My four-year-old niece, Mireya, is a sponge. She absorbs every little thing she hears and sees.

When she was two years old, she picked up a stick from the floor and started examining her mom’s bag with it. She said, “Let me check your bag.” She was mimicking the guard at the entrance of the mall.

One day, when she was three, she pranced into the room and greeted me with a thick American accent, “Hey, Tito George! What’s up?” We all burst into laughter!

Now, more than ever, she talks and acts like her mom (my sister Geegee). She copies how she dances, and even “scolds” Geegee in the same way Geegee disciplines her. It’s hilarious. We grow according to the people who surround us. We pick up how they act, speak and even think.

They say who we are five years from now will be a product of the books we read and the people we hang out with. If we remain connected to God — through daily prayer, His Word, community, and constant fellowship with people of the same faith — we will grow to become more and more like Him. George Tolentino Gabriel (george.svp@gmail.com)

Reflection: Do you spend enough time with people whom you want to be like?

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-05-21

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1ST READING: And so begins the debate of the relevance of the Jewish Law to the Christian faith. It is not a simple debate as Christianity is rooted in its Jewish origins. Yet the Gospel sets Christianity on a new path that frees it from a subservience to the Law and replaces the Law with the Holy Spirit. The Law still has a certain relevance, particularly the moral truths, but many of the social and cultural norms are on the way out as they are no longer relevant in the new dispensation of the Spirit. Acts 15:1-6

GOSPEL: Jesus affirms that we need to be connected to the Father in all things. It is when we are rooted in the truth of the Gospel and our identity as sons and daughters of the Father that we are who we should be in Christ. It is in His relationship with the Father that Jesus discovers His true identity as Son of God. It should be the same for us. We are all sons and daughters of our Father in heaven. John 15:1-8

think: It is when we are rooted in the truth of the Gospel and our identity as sons and daughters of the Father that we are who we should be in Christ.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-05-21

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MY FATHER IS A GARDENER: Fairly soon after my conversion experience as an 18-year-old lad, I read a book by Colin Urquhart, titled My Father Is a Gardener. It was a very instructive experience as I learned very early on that God was like an orchardist. He prunes His trees with the intention of maximizing its harvest. I am a very logical sort of person who likes to read math books for fun and relaxation, and so, to my young mind then, a God who wants to maximize the benefit He gets from His disciples is a sensible God.

With this in mind, I was ready when He started to prune my life and cut out many things which did not serve me in responding to God’s call to holiness. It may have been a little or a lot painful, depending on what the thing was, but the pruning was all worth it because I knew what the goal was and I trusted the Gardener. I cannot explain why I was convinced that the Gardener desired the best for me but I am pretty sure that the fact that He sent His Son to die on the Cross for the forgiveness of my sins had something to do with it.

Learning to trust God when He prunes our lives is relatively easy if we have an open mind. Having seen the fruits of the initial pruning, it becomes easier to submit to the subsequent ones. It’s quite logical. I also grew up watching my dad prune our fruit trees, and then my mom took over after studying horticulture. And so, I am aware of the various reasons why one branch or twig is chosen over another and why sometimes it is necessary to take out an entire major branch to have a good harvest. Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Do you welcome God’s pruning in your life? Or do you avoid it because of the pain it brings?

Jesus, I love the image of our Father as a Divine Gardener in the way He disciples us and leads us to holiness. Help me to continue to submit to His pruning as long as I live.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-05-21

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ALWAYS WITH ME – “Remain in me, as I also remain in you.” – John 15:4

My father passed away in October 2012. A year and a half later, I would still cry whenever I share about him during a talk or a recollection. I’d be surprised to find that I still hadn’t gotten over his death. Then I heard someone on a TV show say, “When someone you love passes away, they stay with you forever. You don’t get over it, you just get through it.”

The significant things that happen to us in life affect us forever. The high or low of the moment will pass, but after we experience them, we have been changed for good. Although Dad is gone, he will always be with me. Everything I’ve learned from him, all the love he showed me, all the time we spent together — they will always be a part of my life.

It’s the same with Jesus. I once tried to run away from Him, but it didn’t work. I found myself all the more embraced by His mercy as I broke down in tears on my bathroom floor, feeling His forgiveness and grace.

Once we allow God to enter our lives, His love makes its home in our hearts. Even if we turn our back on Him and try to forget Him, we can never get rid of His stubborn love. It will remain with us forever. George Tolentino Gabriel (george.g@svrtv.com)

Reflection: Have you ever tried to run away from God’s love? Did you succeed?

Jesus, thank You for never giving up on me.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2015-05-06

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My Reflection for Wednesday May 21, Fifth Week of Easter; John 15:1-8 – Reflection: What is the meaning of life without Jesus? Nothing its pure emptiness it’s like you are chasing for something that doesn’t exist. What then is the meaning of life with Jesus? With Jesus in your life you exist with a purpose in this world. You may not have the worldly riches and power (Which actually amounts to nothing when you are near the doorway of death).

However, to journey with Jesus in this world is not all walk in the park. There will be hardship and to some extent persecution also, we have nothing to worry nevertheless. If God is with us who can be against us?

In today’s gospel Jesus tells us that HE is the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser (John 15:1). What does this statement of Jesus tell us? Being the true vine we must always choose to be attached to HIM. With must not attach ourselves with anything that is worldly and anything that would only make us sin.

We must always keep in our hearts a foresight as we exist in this world and this foresight is to be with Jesus in the afterlife. That is why it’s very important for us to always be connected with the true vine and the vine dresser, nobody else but Jesus and God.

Are you always connected with the Vine and the Vinedresser? (Marino J. Dasmarinas)

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2014/05/my-reflection-for-wednesday-may-21.html

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Reflection for May 6, Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter; John 15:1-8 Reflection: How does it feel without connection to the internet? It seems that something important in our lives is lacking. We cannot function properly most especially if our job is reliant on the internet, say for example medical transcription or a call center related job.

Somehow our lives now is associated with the internet be it wifi or cable based internet connection. When we are outside of our respective houses our smart phones are ever ready to find wifi connection. We look for it because we need or we want to be connected.

How about our desire to be connected with Jesus and God? Do we always seek a connection with Jesus and God? Is our desire for Jesus and God as intense as our desire for a wifi or internet connection?

In our gospel for this Wednesday Jesus tells us that He is the vine and we are the branches (John 15:5) and as such we must always be connected with Him and God. Life without connection with God is meaningless, even if we have all the material wealth and power it’s still meaningless without God!

If only we would always desire connection with God more than we desire wifi or internet connection. If only we would invest more time with God as much as we invest time connected in the internet. Let us therefore always seek connection with God through our prayers, presence at Holy Mass. And by reading and reflecting upon His life transforming worlds in the bible.

The best is yet to come for us if we would seek a permanent connection with our vine and our vine grower no other than Jesus and God. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Reflection for April 27 Wednesday of Fifth Week of Easter, John 15:1-8

Reflection: There’s a story of two neighbors: one has a bright and positive disposition in life the other one was always gloomy and negative in whatever aspects of life that he deals with. Delving deeper into their lifestyles, the positive one always makes it a point to go to Mass and he has a daily prayer life. The other one is an atheist or a non believer.

Jesus says in the gospel that he is the true vine and God is his vine grower, he tells us to remain in him so that he will remain in us and we will bear much fruit if we will always be with him (John:4).

If we will observe the lives of our fellowmen we will obviously notice that those who have incorporated a lifestyle that is always attuned and connected with God regardless of his religious affiliations and social standing are those that live serene lives. Those who refuse to get connected with God because of their hubris are those that lead complicated and problematic lives.

As we traverse this temporary life it is a must that that we are always with our true vine that is Jesus. Of course there will be problems, disappointments, even sufferings for all of these are part and parcel of our life. Amidst all of these Jesus is always there to help us, to strengthen us and to make our burdens light us.

Do you always see to it that you are always connected with Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2016/04/reflection-for-april-27-wednesday-of.html

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Separated From Christ

May 6, 2015 (readings)

Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter

Father Patrick Langan, LC

John 15: 1-8

Jesus said to his disciples: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. 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. 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. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord, thank you for granting me the opportunity to be with you. There are things in life, Lord, that attract me, but you attract me more. I hope in you, and I love you. Maybe I don’t really understand what it means to love, and maybe I don’t love the way I should, but I do love you.

Petition: Lord, help me to grow in my interior life so I can remain united to you.

  1. Forgetfulness of God:Lord, it is so easy to forget you when life gets busy. It is easy to forget you when things go well. Almost without realizing it, I begin to separate myself from the vine. My prayer time is a good thermometer: When I am separating myself from the vine, it becomes shorter and shorter until it almost fades. I go my own way. I forget to pray. However, it isn’t necessarily a question of eliminating activities but of doing all of these tasks for God and in union with him.
  2. Barrenness:If I separate myself from Christ, the vine, and invest my energies in something else, I know what is going to happen. I will produce no fruit. This is my experience; it has already happened. Eventually I will wither and be thrown out like a dry branch. Lastly, these withered, old, dried-up branches will be gathered and thrown into a fire, and they will be burned. There is no way I can bear fruit if I am separated from the vine.
  3. Abundant Fruit:I want to produce abundant fruit. I want to help bring about a change in this world. That is attractive to me. That means a lot to me. I have tried different ways, and I know that only united to the vine can I bear lasting fruits for Christ’s Kingdom. This is the way I will glorify the Father. In this meditation, I already sense the sap running back into my soul. My life will produce fruit for others. Lord, help me to cling to the vine. Help me to strengthen that bond of unity. Help my faith and love for you grow, for you are my all.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, it is easy to trust what I can see, feel and touch. It is wiser, infinitely wiser to trust you, even if you are hidden from me for now.

Resolution: At least three times today I will lift up my thoughts to offer one of my activities to God.

epriest.com/reflections/view/380?utm_source=bulletin_728&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Bulletin

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WEDNESDAY OF THE 5TH WEEK OF EASTER (YEAR B) – JUAN 15:1-8. UNSA MAN KITA NGA MATANG SA SANGA SA PUNOAN SA PARAS? Adunay duha ka klase sa mga sanga sa paras: ang mabungahon ug ang dili mabungahon. Kasagaran, ang mga sanga nga walay bunga putlon aron nga ang nutrisyon sa punoan dili mausik ug mapahimuslan sa mga sanga nga mabungahon. Matag karon ug unya, ang mga sanga nga mabungahon pul-ongan aron makabunga pag mas daghan. Kitang mga Kristiyano mao ang mga sanga; si Kristo mao ang atong punoan. Aron kita makabunga, kinahanglan kitang magpabilin kang Kristo. Ug aron kita mas labing magmabungahon, kinahanglan kitang pul-ongan sa garbo, kahakog, ug ubang daotang batasan. Matod pa sa usa ka magsusulat: “Every living thing needs to be pruned so it can reach its fullest potential – including you and me.”Posted by Abet Uy

(English) John 15: 1-8. WHAT WE KIND OF BRANCH OF THE PARAS? There are two types of vine branches: the fruitful and unfruitful. Usually, the unproductive branches cut to the nutrition officers are not wasted and enjoy the fruitful bough. Every now and then, the fruitful branches pruned to bear more children. We Christians are the branches; Christ is our ruler. That we may bear fruit, we must remain in Christ. And so we can be more fruitful, we must prune the pride, greed, and other bad habits. Says one writer: “Every living thing needs to be pruned so it can reach its fullest potential – including you and me.”

abetuy.blogspot.com/2015/05/wednesday-of-5th-week-of-easter-year-b.html

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April 27, 2016

REFLECTION: Today’s gospel reading is all about “bearing (much) fruit” (six times in eight verses!). Now what exactly does Jesus mean by this expression?

Some Christians—the super-activists among us—might sponta­neously associate “bearing fruit” with being fruitfully productive, achieving tangible results (v.g. on the stock market), coming out with a new idea, making one’s mark in the financial world, setting a new fashion in clothes, creating a new kind of pizza, inventing a new time-saving device, and so on. But surely the Virgin Mary, who did nothing of the above, was far more fruitful than any human being before or after her because the fruit she bore, the fruit of her womb, was God himself. She was eminently fruitful, but not productive in the activist sense of the word.

Jesus warns us in this gospel passage that without him we can do nothing. To our activist mentality, this may seem strange, for we are aware that we can do a lot of things without ever referring to him. But these things are all useless for the Kingdom if Jesus does not inspire our action, guide it and constantly sustain it. Are we convinced that without Jesus all our busyness is just that—meaningless hustle and bustle?

CLARETIAN COMMUNICATIONS FOUNDATION, INC.

8 Mayumi Street, U.P. Village, Diliman, 1101 Quezon City, Philippines

Tel.: (02) 921-3984, 922-9806 • Fax: (02) 921-6205

schoolofthewordonline.com/scriptural-library/daily-gospel/english/item/3516-april-27-2016

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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