5th Sunday of Easter, Year B
Note: Homilies & Angelus / Regina Caeli of Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I had been compiled for you after the Mass Readings below. Happy Reading!
Readings at Mass
Liturgical Colour: White.
First reading: Acts 9:26-31
Barnabas explained how the Lord had appeared to Saul on his journey
When Saul got to Jerusalem he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him: they could not believe he was really a disciple. Barnabas, however, took charge of him, introduced him to the apostles, and explained how the Lord had appeared to Saul and spoken to him on his journey, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. Saul now started to go round with them in Jerusalem, preaching fearlessly in the name of the Lord. But after he had spoken to the Hellenists, and argued with them, they became determined to kill him. When the brothers knew, they took him to Caesarea, and sent him off from there to Tarsus.
The churches throughout Judaea, Galilee and Samaria were now left in peace, building themselves up, living in the fear of the Lord, and filled with the consolation of the Holy Spirit.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 21(22):26-28,30-32
Response: You, Lord, are my praise in the great assembly.
My vows I will pay before those who fear him. The poor shall eat and shall have their fill.
They shall praise the Lord, those who seek him. May their hearts live for ever and ever!
All the earth shall remember and return to the Lord, all families of the nations worship before him;
They shall worship him, all the mighty of the earth;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust.
And my soul shall live for him, my children serve him.
They shall tell of the Lord to generations yet to come, declare his faithfulness to peoples yet unborn: ‘These things the Lord has done.’
Second reading: 1 John 3:18-24
The commandment of faith and love
My children, our love is not to be just words or mere talk, but something real and active;
only by this can we be certain that we are children of the truth
and be able to quieten our conscience in his presence,
whatever accusations it may raise against us,
because God is greater than our conscience and he knows everything.
My dear people, if we cannot be condemned by our own conscience,
we need not be afraid in God’s presence, and whatever we ask him, we shall receive,
because we keep his commandments and live the kind of life that he wants.
His commandments are these: that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ
and that we love one another as he told us to.
Whoever keeps his commandments lives in God and God lives in him.
We know that he lives in us by the Spirit that he has given us.
Make your home in me, as I make mine in you.
Whoever remains in me bears fruit in plenty.
Gospel: John 15:1-8
I am the vine, you are the branches
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
Every branch in me that bears no fruit He cuts away,
and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes to make it bear even more.
You are pruned already, by means of the word that I have spoken to you.
Make your home in Me, as I make Mine in you.
As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself, but must remain part of the vine,
neither can you unless you remain in Me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in Me, with Me in him, bears fruit in plenty;
for cut off from Me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in Me
is like a branch that has been thrown away – he withers;
these branches are collected and thrown on the fire, and they are burnt.
If you remain in Me and My words remain in you,
you may ask what you will and you shall get it.
It is to the glory of My Father that you should bear much fruit,
and then you will be My disciples.’
Acknowledgment: We thank the Publisher for allowing us to publish the Mass Readings to be used as reference for Homilies & Angelus / Regina Caeli of Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us around the World.
Homilies, Angelus / Regina Caeli
Today, at the end of the second millennium, as we celebrate the thousandth anniversary of the martyrdom of Saint Adalbert, he himself seems to speak to us in the words of the Letter to the Colossians: "As therefore you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so live in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving" (2:6-7). Saint Paul's text warns us against every kind of knowledge and philosophy based, as he writes, on "the elemental spirits of the universe" (Col 2:8), that is to say on merely human tradition, and not on Christ. In today's language it could be said that Paul puts us on our guard against a worldly attitude and secularization. It is an extremely timely warning on this jubilee occasion...
Saint Adalbert is a saint for the Christians of today: he invites them not to be defensive, not to keep for themselves the treasury of truths in their possession, with an attitude of sterile self-defence against the world. On the contrary, he asks them to be open to present-day society, to seek out all that is good and valid in it, in order to raise it up and if necessary purify it in the light of the Gospel.
Pope Saint John Paul II (Homily, 27 April 1997)
We thus have many reasons for saying to the Blessed Virgin: "Queen of Heaven, rejoice!" Is not the celebration of the millennium of the Martyrdom of Saint Adalbert a cause for joy? Recalling the glorious testimony of this exemplary image of a Pastor, untiring in proclaiming Christ to those near and far, we have been listening to his voice. He is speaking still! With the compelling power of example he proposes to Bishops, priests, consecrated persons and young people the ideal of a life generously spent for the Lord and for others. He encourages everyone to follow the dictates of an upright conscience, to open their hearts to the values of justice, brotherhood, love and peace. He likewise addresses to every son and daughter of this nation an invitation to foster unity in diversity, to promote culture, and to harness the heart's deepest aspirations in the quest of the common good.
Seven years ago, precisely on this esplanade of Letná, I said to you what I also wish to repeat today: "Your Christian history ... is not over. Your saints are not silent ... Your saints are alive. They are the guarantors of your past and of your future" (Homily, 21 April 1990, No. 4).
Pope Saint John Paul II (Regina Caeli, 27 April 1997)
Through profound union with Christ, begun in Baptism and nourished by prayer, the sacraments and the practice of the Gospel virtues, men and women of all times, as children of the Church, have reached the goal of holiness. They are saints because they put God at the centre of their lives and made seeking and extending his kingdom the purpose of their existence; saints because their deeds continue to speak of their total love for the Lord and for their brethren by bearing abundant fruits, thanks to their living faith in Jesus Christ and their commitment to loving as he loved us, including their enemies…
"This is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us" (1 John 3:23). The command par excellence that Jesus gave to his disciples is to love one another fraternally as he has loved us (cf. John 15:12). In the second reading we heard, the command has a twofold aspect: to believe in the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, confessing him at every moment, and to love one another because Christ himself has commanded us to do so. This command is so fundamental to the lives of believers that it becomes the prerequisite for the divine indwelling. Faith, hope and love lead to the existential acceptance of God as the sure path to holiness…
"Abide in me, and I in you.... He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15: 4, 5). In the Gospel we have just heard, Jesus urged us to abide in him in order to unite all men and women with him. This invitation requires us to fulfil our baptismal commitment by living in his love, drawing inspiration from his Word, being nourished by the Eucharist, receiving his forgiveness and, when necessary, carrying the cross with him. Separation from God is the greatest tragedy a person can experience. The sap that flows to the branch makes it grow; the grace that comes to us through Christ makes us grow to adulthood so that we can bear fruits of eternal life…
This solemn celebration reminds us that faith involves a deep relationship with the Lord. The new saints teach us that the true followers and disciples of Jesus are those who do God's will and are united with him through faith and grace.
Listening to God's word, living one's life in harmony with it and giving priority to Christ configure a human being's life to him. "Abide in me and I in you" continues to be Jesus' invitation and must constantly echo in each of us and in our surroundings. St Paul, in accepting this call, could exclaim: "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me" (Galatians 2:20). May the Word of God proclaimed in this liturgy make our lives authentic by remaining existentially one with the Lord, loving not only in word, but in deed and in truth (cf. 1 John 3:18). Thus our life will truly be "through Christ, with him and in him".
Pope Saint John Paul II (Homily, 21 May 2000)
At the end of this solemn celebration, our thoughts and prayers turn to the Queen of Heaven in a spirit of gratitude for her motherly assistance in accompanying the new saints on their way to Christian perfection. As children of the Church in Mexico, they always loved Our Lady and called upon her, especially under the beautiful title of Our Lady of Guadalupe. To her, the Star of Evangelization on the American continent, we entrust one of the fundamental goals of the Great Jubilee: that of "inspiring in all the faithful a true longing for holiness" (Tertio millennio adveniente, n. 42).
Pope Saint John Paul II (Regina Caeli, 21 May 2000)
"He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit" (John 15: 5; cf. Gospel Acclamation). The words Jesus addressed to the Apostles at the end of the Last Supper are also a moving invitation to us, his disciples in the third millennium. Only those who are intimately united to him - grafted to him like the branch of the vine - receive the vital nourishment of his grace. Only those who live in communion with God produce abundant fruits of justice and holiness…
"Abide in me!". In the Upper Room, Jesus repeated several times this invitation which St Joseph Sebastian Pelczar, St Ursula Ledóchowska, St Maria De Mattias and St Virginia Centurione Bracelli accepted with total trust and willingness. It is a pressing and loving invitation that is addressed to all believers. "If you abide in me", the Lord assures us, "and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you" (John 15: 7).
May each one of us experience in our own life the efficacy of Jesus' assurance!
May Mary, Queen of the Saints and a model of perfect communion with her divine Son, help us. May she teach us how to continue "to abide" in Jesus, united to him as branches to the vine, and never to cut ourselves off from his love. Indeed, without him we can do nothing, for our life is Christ, alive and present in the Church and in the world. Today and forever. Praised be Jesus Christ!
Pope Saint John Paul II (Homily, 18 May 2003)
I would now like to cordially thank my fellow-countrymen for their presence at this liturgy. I am pleased that our new Saints have brought together so many Poles. May their protection and their intercession always go with you.
Pope Saint John Paul II (Regina Caeli, 18 May 2003)
It is a truly meaningful parable as it expresses with great effectiveness that Christian life is a mystery of communion with Jesus: "Whoever remains in me", says the Lord, "will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing" (John 15: 5).
The secret of spiritual fruitfulness is union with God, union that is realized especially in the Eucharist, also rightly called "Communion". I like to underline this mystery of unity and of love at this time of the year, when numerous parish communities celebrate children's First Communion…
A sure way of remaining united to Christ, as branches to the vine, is to have recourse to the intercession of Mary, whom we venerated yesterday, 13 May, in a particular way, recalling the apparitions at Fatima, where she appeared on several occasions to three shepherd children, Francisco, Jacinta and Lucia, in 1917.
The message that she entrusted to them, in continuity with that of Lourdes, was a strong appeal to prayer and conversion; a truly prophetic message, considering that the 20th century was scourged by unheard-of destruction caused by war and totalitarian regimes, as well as widespread persecution of the Church.
Moreover, on 13 May 1981, 25 years ago, the Servant of God John Paul II felt that he was saved miraculously from death by the intervention of "a maternal hand" - as he himself said - and his entire Pontificate was marked by what the Virgin had foretold at Fatima.
Although there is no lack of anxiety and suffering, and although there are still reasons for apprehension about the future of humanity, what the "Lady in White" promised the shepherd children is consoling: "At the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph".
With this awareness, we now turn with confidence to Mary Most Holy, thanking her for her constant intercession and asking her to continue to watch over the journey of the Church and of humanity, especially families, mothers and children.
Pope Benedict XVI (Regina Caeli, 14 May 2006)
“I am the good shepherd”, the Lord tells us, “I know my own, and my own know me” (John 10:14). Today in Jordan we celebrate the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. As we reflect on the Gospel of the Good Shepherd, let us ask the Lord to open our hearts and minds ever more fully to hear his call. Truly, Jesus “knows us”, even more deeply than we know ourselves, and he has a plan for each one of us. We know, too, that wherever he calls us, we will find happiness and fulfilment; indeed, we will find our very selves (cf. Matthew 10:39). Today I invite the many young people here present to consider how the Lord is calling you to follow him and to build up his Church. Whether it be in the priestly ministry, in consecrated life or in the sacrament of marriage, Jesus needs you to make his voice heard and to work for the growth of his Kingdom…
Fidelity to your Christian roots, fidelity to the Church’s mission in the Holy Land, demands of each of you a particular kind of courage: the courage of conviction, born of personal faith, not mere social convention or family tradition; the courage to engage in dialogue and to work side by side with other Christians in the service of the Gospel and solidarity with the poor, the displaced, and the victims of profound human tragedies; the courage to build new bridges to enable a fruitful encounter of people of different religions and cultures, and thus to enrich the fabric of society. It also means bearing witness to the love which inspires us to “lay down” our lives in the service of others, and thus to counter ways of thinking which justify “taking” innocent lives.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my own, and my own know me” (John 10:14). Rejoice that the Lord has made you members of his flock and knows each of you by name! Follow him with joy and let him guide you in all your ways. Jesus knows what challenges you face, what trials you endure, and the good that you do in his name. Trust in him, in his enduring love for all the members of his flock, and persevere in your witness to the triumph of his love. May Saint John the Baptist, the patron of Jordan, and Mary, Virgin and Mother, sustain you by their example and prayers, and lead you to the fullness of joy in the eternal pastures where we will experience for ever the presence of the Good Shepherd and know for ever the depths of his love. Amen.
Pope Benedict XVI (Homily, 10 May 2009)
During the Mass I spoke about the prophetic charism of women as bearers of love, teachers of mercy and artisans of peace. The supreme example of womanly virtue is the Blessed Virgin Mary: the Mother of Mercy and Queen of Peace. As we turn to her now, let us seek her maternal intercession for all the families of these lands, that they may truly be schools of prayer and schools of love. Let us ask the Mother of the Church to look down in mercy upon all the Christians of these lands, and with the help of her prayers, may they be truly one in the faith they profess and the witness they bear. Let us ask her who responded so generously to the angel’s call, and accepted her vocation to become the Mother of God, to give courage and strength to all young people today who are discerning their vocations, so that they too may generously dedicate themselves to carrying out the Lord’s will.
Pope Benedict XVI (Regina Caeli, 10 May 2009)
The Gospel today, the fifth Sunday of Easter time begins with the image of the vine. Jesus said to his disciples, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser” (John 15:1). In the Bible Israel is often compared to the fertile vine when it is faithful to God; but if it distances itself from him, it becomes barren, incapable of producing that “wine to gladden the heart of man”, as Psalm 104 sings (v. 15). The true vine of God, true life, is Jesus who with his sacrifice of love gives us salvation, opens to us the way to be part of this vine. And as Jesus remains in the love of God the Father, the disciples too, wisely pruned by the word of the Master (cf. John 15:2-4), if they remain profoundly united in him, they become fruitful branches that bear an abundant harvest.
St Francis de Sales wrote: “The vine-sprig, united and joined to the stock, brings forth fruit not by its own power but in virtue of the stock. Now we are united by charity unto our Redeemer as members to their head, and hence it is that... good works, drawing their worth from him, merit life everlasting” (Treatise on the love of God, XI, 6)…
It is indispensable to remain ever united to Jesus, to depend on him, because apart from him we can do nothing (cf. John 15:5). In a letter written to John the Prophet who lived in the desert of Gaza in the fifth century, a faithful asked the following question: how is it possible to combine man’s freedom and the inability to do anything without God? And the monk answered: if man inclines his heart towards goodness and asks God for help, he receives the necessary strength to carry out his work. Therefore man’s freedom and God’s power proceed together. This is possible because goodness comes from the Lord, but it is carried out through his faithful (cf. Ep. 763, SC, 468, Paris 2002, 206).
Pope Benedict XVI (Regina Caeli, 6 May 2012)
Something Jesus often repeats, especially during the Last Supper, is: “Abide in me”. Do not tire of me, abide in me. And Christian life is precisely this: to abide in Jesus. This is Christian life: to abide in Jesus. And Jesus, in order to explain to us what he means by this, uses this beautiful figure of the vine: “I am the true vine, you the branches” (cf. John 15:1). And every branch that is not joined to the vine ends up dying, it bears no fruit; and then is thrown away to feed the fire. Many are used for this, to feed the fire — they are very, very useful — but not in bearing fruit. Rather, the branches that are united to the vine receive the lifeblood and thus develop, grow and bear fruit. It’s a simple, simple image. To abide in Jesus means to be united to Him in order to receive life from Him, love from Him; the Holy Spirit from Him. It’s true, we are all sinners, but if we abide in Jesus, like the branches to the vine, the Lord comes. He prunes us a little, so that we can bear more fruit. He always takes care of us. But if we detach from Him, if we do not abide in the Lord, we are Christians in name only, but not in life; we are Christians, but dead ones, because we bear no fruit, like branches broken away from the vine.
… When we cheat others with the dirty deals that are available to everyone, we are dead branches, we do not abide in Jesus. To abide in Jesus is to do the things that he did: to do good, to help others, to pray to the Father, to care for the sick, to help the poor, to have the joy of the Holy Spirit…
And what does the Lord give us if we abide in Him? We just heard it: “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7). The power of prayer: “Ask whatever you will”, that is, prayer is so powerful that Jesus does whatever we ask of him. However if our prayer is weak — if it is not done sincerely in Jesus — prayer does not bear its fruit, because the branch is not united to the vine. But if the branch is united to the vine, that is, “if you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you”. And this is the almighty prayer. Where does the omnipotence of this prayer come from? From abiding in Jesus; from being united to Jesus, like the branch to the vine. May the Lord grant us this grace.
Pope Francis I (Homily, 3 May 2015)
Today’s Gospel shows us Jesus during the Last Supper, in the moment He knows His death is close at hand. His ‘hour’ has come. For it is the last time He is with His disciples, and now He wants to impress firmly a fundamental truth in their minds: even when He will no longer be physically present in the midst of them, they will still be able to remain united to Him in a new way, and thus bear much fruit. Everyone can be united to Jesus in a new way. If, on the contrary, one should lose this unity with Him, this union with Him, would become sterile, or rather, harmful to the community. And to express this reality, this new way of being united to Him, Jesus uses the image of the vine and the branches: Just “as a branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches” (John 15:4-5). With this image He teaches us how to abide Him, to be united to Him, even though He is not physically present…
When one is intimately united to Jesus, he enjoys the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are — as St Paul tells us — “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22). These are the gifts that we receive if we remain united in Jesus; and therefore a person who is so united in Him does so much good for neighbour and society, is a Christian person. In fact, one is recognized as a true Christian by this attitude, as a tree is recognized by its fruit. The fruits of this profound union with Christ are wonderful: our whole person is transformed by the grace of the Spirit: soul, understanding, will, affections, and even body, because we are united body and soul. We receive a new way of being, the life of Christ becomes our own: we are able to think like Him, to act like Him, to see the world and the things in it with the eyes of Jesus. And so we are able to love our brothers, beginning with the poorest and those who suffer the most, as He did and love them with His heart, and so bear fruits of goodness, of charity, and of peace in the world.
Pope Francis I (Regina Caeli, 3 May 2015)
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Compiled on 29 April 2018