“It was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others should go up to Jerusalem to the Apostles and presbyters..” 

 
O God, restorer and lover of innocence,
direct the hearts of your servants towards yourself,
that those you have set free from the darkness of unbelief
may never stray from the light of your truth.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Today's Reading

 

Daily Meditation: 

It was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others
should go up to Jerusalem to the Apostles and presbyters. Acts 15

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. John 15

The community realizes that they must take their dispute to Jerusalem.
Just as they are branches connected to Jesus, the vine,
they know that they must stay connected with each other
for there to be communion among them.

We again ask for the grace to be connected, and in communion with Jesus,
drawing life from him, so that we might bear much fruit.
We ask for the grace to be disciples of communion, so that we can,
as Pope Francis urges, build bridges, rather than walls.

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. John 15

 

Intercessions: 

Christ was given up for our sins and rose again to make us righteous. Let us cry out to him, saying:

Save us, Lord, by your victory.

Christ our Savior, in conquering death you brought us joy, in rising again you raised us up and filled us with the abundance of your gifts,
- stir up our hearts, and sanctify this day through the gift of your Holy Spirit.

You are glorified by the angels in heaven and adored by mankind on earth; as we celebrate your resurrection,
- accept our worship in spirit and in truth.

Lord Jesus, save us; show your great mercy to your people, as we look forward to our own resurrection,
- have mercy on us, and protect us today from every evil.

King of glory, source of our life, grant that, when you come again, - we may be one with you in glory.

 

Closing Prayer: 

God of joy, growth and resurrection,
In this Easter season, I feel connected to you in a deeper way.
I am a branch that holds fast to you, the life-giving source of my life. 
With grace, I sometimes become aware that without you, I can do nothing.

Give me the focus to keep my heart always directed toward you.
Guide me in everything to walk the path of your light.
Let me be always grateful that you fill me
with an abundance of your gifts.
Bless this day with your Spirit, and stir my heart to your awakening.

May the Lord bless us, 
protect us from all evil 
and bring us to everlasting life. 
Amen.

 
 
Daily Reflection
Of Creighton University's Online Ministries

The first reading for today is an account of an early debate among the first followers of Christ.  The believers were rejoicing at the numbers of gentiles who had decided to join, i.e., to believe with them that Jesus was, indeed, the Messiah, the Son of God.  Since the first followers of Jesus were Jewish, they had always scrupulously followed Mosaic Law. One of the tenets of the Jewish faith was practiced since the time of Abraham; males were to be circumcised.   This was a problem, since the gentiles were not circumcised. The Pharisees among those who followed the teachings of Jesus said that the new converts must be circumcised to be true members of the faith.  The response from the Apostles and Elders essentially was (as it often is today):  “We will have a meeting about this.”  It was eventually decided that the gentiles could be truly part of those who believed in Jesus based on their faith in Him. Circumcision was, in fact, not the most important factor that determined whether a person was a Christian.   This was a very important realization for the early church members.  Would the community be made up only of faithful Jews who believed in the divinity of Jesus, or would anyone be included who believed that Jesus is the Son of God?  The meetings among the brethren ultimately allowed the uncircumcised gentiles to be included.  The difference between Jews and gentiles would be based not on a physical trait, but rather, on one’s faith in Jesus.

The believers have, of course, continued to debate many issues; we have, in fact, never stopped the dialog. It is certain that we must continue to love and understand each other as the conversation progresses.  Love is the common denominator that allows us to overcome and to learn from our differences.  

Jesus reminds us through today’s gospel that we are branches of the vine.  The core of the gospel had already been taught to the followers of Jesus by their everyday experience with vineyards.  They all knew that the vine is necessary for the branches to live.  They also knew that vineyards needed to be regularly tended to; they needed to be pruned to be productive.   If the vine was healthy, the branches would, in turn, bear more fruit and that would allow further propagation of the parent plant.   Jesus stated that we cannot do anything without Him.  He is the vine and we are the branches.  He tells us: “Remain in me, as I remain in you.”   Glorify the Father by bearing much fruit and becoming His disciples.   The underlying message may be that it is not enough to be supported by the vine, but that we also need to carry out God’s plan for us in order to be productive.  Above all, it comes down to this: we need to love God and one another to the best of our ability. Live by and spread Jesus’ words.  

by Tom Quinn
Creighton University's Medical School Admissions
click here for photo and information about the writer


Daily Meditation by(c) 2013 Don Schwager
Bible Story illustrations by publishing.com 

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