Fifth Sunday of Easter - Acts 9:26-31; 1 Jn 3:18-24; Jn 15:1-8

04-28-2024Weekly ReflectionThe Faithful Disciple

GROW: “Where do they get their energy!” Maybe you’ve said that about your children as they run around the yard while you’re trying to wrangle them inside for bedtime. Jokes abound about how sugar and caffeine are what keep most adults going, but we know it’s proper nutrition, exercise, and rest that enable us to do well whatever it is we do. That is all relevant to us physically. What about spiritually? Bishop Barron, writing on the Gospel, says, “Jesus declares that he is the vine and we are the branches. He is the power and energy source in which we live.” (Word on Fire Bible, 548) Just as we see the effects of sugar and caffeine on people, we see the supernatural effects of Jesus’ love on, and in, people. As he nurtures us with his perfect love, and that flows into us who are grafted onto him, it changes us. It transforms us and converts us away from sin and toward God. We fill up on that spiritual fuel in the sacramental life of the Church and become a witness to it in how we go about our days – loving one another.


Fourth Sunday of Easter - Acts 4:8-12; 1 Jn 3:1-2; Jn 10:11-18

04-21-2024Weekly ReflectionThe Faithful Disciple

GROW: Several years ago I went to a shopping mall with my six-year-old son, and I could tell he was overwhelmed by the fast-moving crowds; he stuck close to my side. Not long into our trip, he turned a corner and, suddenly, his face lit up. He pointed at a young boy ahead. “That’s James! I know him! He’s in my class!” he exclaimed, and ran up to talk to him. Out of the sea of strangers was someone he knew, and who knew him. That changed the whole experience for him. Today’s readings are all about that kind of knowing. In the Gospel Jesus tells us that, like a good shepherd, he knows his flock and they know him. How comforting it is to know that Jesus not only knows each one of us, but he willingly chose to lay down his life for each one of us as the ultimate sacrifice of love. But how do we get to know our Good Shepherd better? By immersing ourselves in Scripture and prayer and seeking a personal relationship with him. If we stay close to the Lord, we’ll know his voice when we hear it – in the quiet of our prayer, in the everyday promptings of the Spirit in our decision-making, and even, in the midst of all the noise, as the calming and guiding voice leading us along the right path.


Third Sunday of Easter - Acts 3:13-15, 17-19; 1 Jn 2:1-5a; Lk 24:35-48

04-14-2024Weekly ReflectionThe Faithful Disciple

GROW: It’s only been two weeks since Easter, but already the holiday can seem like another item checked off our to-do lists. It’s easy to get complacent as we go about our busy lives – marking celebrations, important dates and gatherings on the calendar. Today’s readings remind us that the Resurrection is not just a story or a metaphor about something ordinary that happened more than 2,000 years ago. It was so different and so shocking that it trembled the very earth, and nothing has been the same since! Luke describes the confusion the disciples felt when they first saw Jesus in his resurrected body. Here was their Lord and teacher, back from the dead, but not as a ghost or spirit as they might have expected: He was just as real as before. He was eating, speaking, touching, and interacting. And yet he was different. He could arrive in a locked room without using the door, pass among people unnoticed (as on the way to Emmaus), and give gifts of wisdom and insight directly to the disciples. Today’s Gospel offers Jesus’ explanation that these things were done to fulfill the promises God made to the prophets.


Second Sunday of Easter - Sunday of Divine Mercy - Acts 4:32-35; 1 Jn 5:1-6; Jn 20:19-31

04-07-2024Weekly ReflectionThe Faithful Disciple

GROW: We tend to beat up St. Thomas for his doubt, when what is really most amazing in the scene from today’s Gospel is his understanding, and the first public pronouncement of, Jesus Christ’s divinity. He gets it. And he proclaims it without hesitation: “My Lord and my God.” I think about what Thomas’ face might have looked like at that moment, and I imagine a countenance of conviction alongside humility – joyful tears in the eyes that reflect awe and wonder. The truth behind his realization and understanding is that God is faithful, God is loving, God is merciful. Of course, knowing that with our heart and mind needs to be translated into doing with our every action. The early Christian communities seemed to have lived this well, happily sharing their possessions and selling what they didn’t need. Not because they had been forced to, but because the “commandments [were] not burdensome” for those who loved God. God loved us first, and by his grace, and his mercy, we are commanded and empowered to love one another.