Fifth Sunday of Easter / First Communion Weekend

Call to worship

Today’s gospel proclaims the life-giving relationship that we have with Jesus. He is the vine and we are the branches. We become fruitful and strong by remaining bonded to him and by keeping his commandment to love another.

  • To the point: Bearing fruit — and even more fruit — requires pruning. The pruning tool of the Father-vine grower is the Son’s word. Allowing this word to shape us brings forth a life-giving relationship with Jesus (likened to a branch that remains on a vine) that assures abundant and good fruit. Five times we are told to bear fruit. Eight times we are told to remain in Jesus. How many times, then, must we be shaped by the word?
  • Connecting the Gospel (John 15:1-8) to the second reading: The second reading makes very concrete how we remain in Jesus: by keeping his commandment of love in deed and truth.
  • Connecting the Gospel to our experience: Every gardener knows the value and necessity of pruning. The hard work of cutting away what is dead, unwanted, or overgrown is rewarded by lushness of new growth.

Centering prayers

The Gospel

(John 15: 1-8)

“Remain in me as I remain in you …”

The branches move and live and have their being in the vine.
The prayer of the spindly branches
is one with the prayer of the anchor vine.
Abba listens to the beseeching of the vine.

Lord, you tell us to ask for whatever
we want and it will be done for us.
We want: no greed, no hunger, no violence,
no prejudice, no pandemics, no global warming,
no suffering children, no suffering immigrants

We want to learn to love. Abba, please, hear our prayers.

The First Reading

(Acts 9: 26-31)

Saul reported how … he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.

Knock us off our feet and blind us with your light.
Pour out your Spirit. Grant us new sight.
Lord, talk to us as you did to Paul,
so we too can speak out boldly in your name.

The Second Reading

(I John 3: 18-24)

God is greater than our hearts and knows everything. …
We receive from him whatever we ask.

Needs come in droves with their hands stretched out.
You know each need better than we do.
You know that we lack  one thing only: You, our God.

Copyright © 2021, Anne M. Osdieck

Music for reflection