Reading 1 (ACTS 15:1-6)

A reading from the Acts of the Apostles

Some who had come down from Judea were instructing the brothers,
“Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic practice,
you cannot be saved.”
Because there arose no little dissension and debate
by Paul and Barnabas with them,
it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others
should go up to Jerusalem to the Apostles and presbyters
about this question. 
They were sent on their journey by the Church,
and passed through Phoenicia and Samaria
telling of the conversion of the Gentiles,
and brought great joy to all the brethren.
When they arrived in Jerusalem,
they were welcomed by the Church,
as well as by the Apostles and the presbyters,
and they reported what God had done with them.
But some from the party of the Pharisees who had become believers
stood up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them
and direct them to observe the Mosaic law.”

The Apostles and the presbyters met together to see about this matter. 

– The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 122:1-2, 3-4AB, 4CD-5)

R.(see 1) Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
I rejoiced because they said to me,
“We will go up to the house of the LORD.”
And now we have set foot
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
According to the decree for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
In it are set up judgment seats,
seats for the house of David.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia (JOHN 15:4A, 5B)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Remain in me, as I remain in you, says the Lord;
whoever remains in me will bear much fruit.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel (JOHN 15:1-8)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John

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.”

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection: In the First Reading (Acts 15:1-6), some Pharisees have complained to the Apostles about the necessity of the Gentile converts to Christianity to be circumcised like the Jewish converts. This practice has been part of the Mosaic Law, which God decreed to Abraham. So the Apostles have proclaimed the Good News of Christ to Phoenicia and Samaria, then in their return to Jerusalem, they discuss with each other and the leaders of the Church about the argument of the Jewish leaders. We will see how they affirm the teaching of Christ in tackling this first doctrinal controversy. Now in the Gospel (John 15:1-8), the same passage read last Sunday, Jesus uses the symbols of vine and branches. Simply, he is saying that we have to stay connected to him. In all things, we must believe in him and his words and deeds. We should also rejoice in the blessings the Lord gives us. But sometimes, we experience sufferings and bad things without knowing why do they happen. These can cause us to question God’s personality and doubt his presence. As a result, our blindness disconnects us from him. And sometimes, our sins cut us from his grace. But Jesus the True Vine hang on the Tree of Life by on the Cross to save us, and rose again from the dead after three days. Before he departed, he left us a mission of being witnesses to his name, so that they will go proclaiming the Gospel and bearing the fruits of labor that will compose of the Church. Yes, even in good and bad times, the Apostles never gave up their faith in him because they remembered all he did and taught. Jesus’ words in the Gospel may be offensive to most, but they are true. As branches, we must bear fruit by being united to him, that is to say, believing in him and obeying his teachings. So as we journey down this Easter road, let us do those things because listening and being united to Christ is doing the will of God the Father.

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