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Engaging the Word: Sunday, May 3rd

1st Reading: Acts 9: 26-31
Responsorial: Psalms 22: 26-28, 30-32
2nd Reading: 1 John 3: 18-24
Gospel: John 15: 1-8

The simple message of the Gospel of Jesus keeps appearing and reappearing in the readings selected for Mass. In the reading from Acts we hear how Saul, a persecutor of the Church, stopped, turned around, and stepped into the Kingdom. We hear too that when he showed up in Jerusalem to present himself to the disciples they were skeptical. Actions speak louder than words, and his past actions spoke pretty loudly that he was a dangerous character. Barnabas took his side, however, and challenged the apostles to believe the Good News that people can change. Saul went on to become Paul, one of the most successful Christian missionaries of all time because he preached not only with his words but in that he gave witness to the Gospel by his own conversion and new life.

In the reading from the first letter of John we are reminded to love “in deed and truth.” Love is active; it’s not just something to think about or feel, but something to do. One of the amazing things about God is that in God word and deed are one in the same. Jesus is the Word of God, but Jesus is not just an idea or a concept but a living person; the Word of God is active. We need to strive for the integrity of Jesus so that all our intentions, actions, and inspirations are in union with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In our baptism we re-ceived the freedom to love in the realization that we are made in the image of the Trinity and capable of aligning our imaginations with the imagination of God, aligning our actions with the actions of God, and aligning our spirits with the Spirit of God.

All this is Good News, but our reading from the Gospel of John admonishes us in two ways. First we cannot do it alone; we need to remain connected to the community and to Christ. Second, John reiterates that it’s about fruitfulness; we are called to co-create with God in love. As we continue our celebration of Easter, let’s rejoice in the Good News and really live it, uniting our thoughts, actions, and inspirations with our loving God and living and loving to the full.

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