Catholic Homilies

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Bearing Fruit

Fr. Jude Thaddeus Langeh, cmf


The liturgy today stresses on the importance of bearing fruit. Jesus compares us to branches on a vine. He calls himself the vine – and us the branches. As part of the vine, we are truly alive and we produce good fruit – we do good things – but when we become separated from Jesus – we begin to wither and can’t really do anything good at all – and if we go on too long like this – we will die. But if we turn back to Jesus in time – and become reattached – and allow his love to flow through us as sap flows the vine and its branches – then we will live and produce the beautiful fruit of good works and praise unto God’s name. The Gospel goes on to speak about bearing fruit. If the branch is united to the vine, it bears much fruit. If the branch is not united to the vine, the branch will wither and die and there will be no fruit.

In our first reading (Acts 9:26-31), Barnabas also bears fruit and shows a Christian love that is not just words or mere talk but something real and active when the Church in Jerusalem doubted the genuineness of Paul’s conversion and Barnabas introduced Paul to them assuring them of his conversion. (Some years later (Acts 11:25-26) Barnabas would again introduce Paul to the Church, this time in Antioch from where Paul would begin his preaching journeys. We all know what a difference Paul made to the Church. And it was Barnabas who prepared the way for Paul.) So what a difference it makes to the whole Church when we bear fruit and love with a Christian love that is real and active and not just words or mere talk.

Jesus is the center of our lives holding us together. Jesus asks us to make our home in him so that we can bear fruit. Are we bearing fruit for the kingdom of God? Is our Christian love real and active or just words and mere talk?

God calls us to make His message real in the world. He calls us to be witnesses of the Resurrection. He calls us to bring His Love to the world. He is not calling us just to be in His presence. He is calling us to transform the world with His Presence. Husbands and wives, parents and children, neighbours and friends, priests and laity, all are called to live the Life that matters so completely that others are attracted to that Life. The Life of Christ is a magnet. When people experience this Life in others they want it for themselves. These people, those who turn to God, are fruit. Our union with God draws them to Him. They are the fruit we have been called to bear. We must bear fruits in our homes, in our schools, in our Small Christian Communities.

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A Heart that obeys God

Cardinal Tagle

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Sunday Homily

Fr. Peter Hahn

Catholic Homilies

Love in truth and action, not just words

Fr. Vincent Hawkswell

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“Let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action,” St. John urges in this Sunday’s Second Reading.

God himself is love, and he calls us to love, too. In fact, Jesus summarized all the commandments as follows: love God for his own sake and, for the love of God, love your neighbour as you love yourself.

What if we cannot feel this love?

The answer is to act as if we do. Feelings are involuntary, and God cannot command what is involuntary. The love God commands is a willed love. (2021)

Importance of being Connected

Fr. Austin Fleming

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Well, I don’t have a vine and I’m not a gardener and plants that come into my house don’t seem to live very long. But I know enough about such things to understand what Jesus is telling us here. He’s telling us how important it is to be connected – and to stay connected.

Being connected is part of every human being’s experience. It’s how we all started out. Every one of us began life intimately connected to our mother, growing inside our mother until it was time to be born. And once we were born, we began a whole lifetime of wanting to be connected:

wanting to be held, hugged, embraced, cuddled, nuzzled and loved;
wanting to be with, to be united to, belong, be part of, to be joined;
wanting to be welcomed, accepted, close and intimate with another;
wanting to be one with someone;  wanting to be connected…

We recognize all of that in our own experience and we also know the loneliness, the pain and the hurt of separation, of being dis-connected. Jesus knew all this, too. At his birth, just like us, he left his mother’s body and began a lifetime of seeking to connect with others. He had a group of 12 close friends he hung out with, worked with and traveled with. He was always going to weddings and banquets and dinners – he wanted to be with people. Crowds of people gathered around him and followed him everywhere. ….. (2015)

More Homilies for this Sunday by Fr. Fleming

Pruning Trees & Shrubs (2018)
Quinceañera (2012)
Let’s Keep in Touch! (2009)

I’m the Vine, you are Branches

Fr. Evans K Chama, M.Afr

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The images that Jesus uses, the vine and the branches, are well known to his audience. Even if you are not of the culture of vines, nevertheless, the analogy is easy to understand. Whatever fruit tree you may think of, without being connected to a stem, branches will simply dry out. Certainly, the comparison does not leave indifferent anyone claiming to be a disciple of Jesus.

Thus, this Gospel provides an occasion to ask oneself: where am I rooted? What nourishes my ideas, thoughts, words and my actions? Here I think of the phrase: “you are what you eat,” which originally comes from Anthelme Brillat-Savarin who said:  “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.” Though this was all about eating good food in order to be healthy, nevertheless, its moral significance can’t be missed. From what one says or does you can possibly deduce what nourishes their life. That’s why the refrain that you will find, repeatedly, in this reflection is the question: what nourishes my life? (2018)

The Experience of Christ

Msgr. Joseph A. Pellegrino

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We hear the message of the vine and the branches every year at Easter time.  It seems so obvious to us that we need to be united to Christ to bring him to others, but then we get so busy in doing things for our family, our spouses, or others, that we forget where the real Power of Love comes from…  Instead of strengthening our union with Christ and letting Him work though us, we go about a myriad of tasks without spending time on the work that really matters, growing in the love of Christ.   We have God’s life, God’s love within us…

What really matters in our lives?  Is it the way others treat us?  Often that motivates us to return negative for negative.  But what others say and do is really secondary to what really matters in life.  What matters is the Love of Christ that we have been empowered to make real in the world.  When that love becomes our focus, then we really don’t care about ourselves.  We just want others to experience this love. (2021)

More Homilies for this Sunday by Msgr. Pellegrino

Being Fruitful Branches…Living the Mass (2015)
Being with God (2012)
Grafted onto Christ (2009)
Mary and Molly, and Experience of Christ (2006 PDF)

Pruning the Dead Away

Fr. George Smiga

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Today’s gospel is not about plants. It’s about people. It is not about vines. It’s about life. The image of the vine and the branches which Jesus uses in this gospel is a way of saying that we as branches will share in Christ’s very life, the life of the vine. If we abide in him, we will have life to the fullest. Now this is a very positive and exciting image, and yet there is one line in today’s gospel that can stop us short and perhaps even frighten us. The line is this: “The branches that bear fruit my father will prune so that they bear more fruit.” That line tells us that we who are disciples of Christ must expect to be pruned by God, that something which belongs to us might indeed be cut off or taken away. This can frighten us, because as much as we want life, as much as we desire to abide in Christ, we do not want to lose anything that belongs to us. We do not want something which is ours to be cut off.  Yet, it is central to the teaching of Jesus that this kind of pruning is at times necessary.

This is one of the earliest lessons that I learned in ministry. One day while I was a deacon in Akron, a man came in to talk to me in great distress. He said, “My wife is divorcing me.” I expressed my regrets and then asked him, “Did you see this coming?” “Oh yes,” he said, “We’ve been living in a loveless marriage for at least ten years. We argue all the time and hardly ever talk about anything of substance. I can’t remember the last time that we made love. A while back I wanted to go to a counselor but my wife refused. In time, I too lost the will even to try.” “Why did you stay together?” I asked. “It was for the kids, of course. We wanted to keep our family together. But now they are off to college, and my wife says that there is not anything left in our relationship.” “Do you disagree with her?” I asked. “Not really,” he responded. “But”—and here is the line that I will always remember—“All my life,” he said, “ I dreamed of a perfect marriage. I dreamed of someone who would share their life with me for as long as I lived. I wanted a relationship around which we could build a family. It is so difficult to let that dream die.” (2003)

More Homilies for this Sunday by Fr. Smiga

Son of Encouragement (2018)
Beyond Asking (2015)
Goodness is its Own Reward (2006)
The Life Within Us (2015)

Radical Faith

Fr. John Kavanaugh, SJ

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“Have you accepted Christ as your personal savior?” How do you respond to that question? Uneasily, if you are like me for much of my life. The question had seemed far too direct and intense. It also struck me as being a bit overdone on the emotional side. A little extreme.

 “Personal savior” talk suggested the kind of display, seen in Billy Graham’s crusades, that sometimes makes other Christians, especially Catholics, rather uncomfortable. “Come forward as a witness that you are claiming Christ as your redeemer.” Then the long lines of men and women, coursing through the aisles like blood through arteries, drain down to the stage to make public their dependency on the Lord…..(1997)

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