Catholic IrelandLiturgical Readings for : Wednesday, 18th May, 2022
Next Sunday's Readings
Wednesday, 5th week of Easter
A reading from the Acts of the Apostles 15:1-6
Theme: It was arranged that Paul and Barnabas and others of the church should go up to Jerusalem
and discuss the problem with the apostles and elders.
Some men came down from Judaea and taught the brothers,
‘Unless you have yourselves circumcised in the tradition of Moses you cannot be saved.’
This led to disagreement, and after Paul and Barnabas had had a long argument with these men it was arranged that Paul and Barnabas and others of the church should go up to Jerusalem and discuss the problem with the apostles and elders.
All the members of the church saw them off, and as they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria they told how the pagans had been converted, and this news was received with the greatest satisfaction by the brothers. When they arrived in Jerusalem they were welcomed by the church and by the apostles and elders, and gave an account of all that God had done with them.
But certain members of the Pharisees’ party who had become believers objected, insisting that the pagans should be circumcised and instructed to keep the Law of Moses. The apostles and elders met to look into the matter.
The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God
Responsorial Psalm Ps 121
Response I rejoiced when I heard them say: ‘Let us go to God’s house.’
1. I rejoiced when I heard them say:
‘Let us go to God’s house.’
And now our feet are standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem. Response
2. Jerusalem is built as a city
It is there that the tribes go up,
the tribes of the Lord. Response
3. For Israel’s law it is,
there to praise the Lord’s name.
There were set the thrones of judgement
of the house of David. Response
Gospel Acclamation Jn 10: 14
I am the good shepherd, says the Lord, I know my sheep and my own know me.
or Jn 15:4-5
Make your home in me, as I make mine in you, says the Lord; whoever remains in me bears fruit in plenty.
The Lord be with you. And with your spirit
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John 15:1-8 Glory to you, O Lord
Theme: Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty.
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine dresser.
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.’
The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Gospel Reflection Wednesday, Fifth Week of Easter John 15:1-8
There is always a temptation to put limits on God, to say, in effect, that God cannot do this or that unless this or that happens. We find such a scenario in today’s first reading. Some Jewish Christians from Jerusalem came down to the church in Antioch and told converts to the faith from paganism, Gentile Christians, ‘Unless you have yourselves circumcised in the tradition of Moses, you cannot be saved.’ They were saying, in effect, ‘Much as God would like to include you among those who will inherit eternal life, he is powerless unless you have yourselves circumcised.’ We don’t have to go back as far as the Acts of the Apostles to find such a mindset. In living memory, we have allowed ourselves to think that we cannot find favour with God unless we follow certain rules or rituals or long-standing customs. However, God cannot be boxed in like that.
Today’s gospel reading is taken from the Gospel of John; earlier in that gospel Jesus says to Nicodemus, ‘the Spirit blows where it chooses’. Because God is all loving towards us, God is completely free in our regard in a way we can never understand. God’s love towards us has been fully revealed in Jesus. In one of his letters, Paul speaks about ‘the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge’. Because our relationship with the Lord is one of love, there is nothing mechanical about that relationship, whereby if we do one thing, he becomes free to do something else. There is nothing less mechanical than the image of the vine and the branches that Jesus offers us in today’s gospel reading. It is a vibrant, living, dynamic image. If Jesus is the vine and we are the branches, it is difficult to know where the vine ends and the branches begin. Jesus invites us to make our home in him, as he makes his home in us. He desires an intimate relationship with us, a relationship of love. It is an empowering relationship, just as the vine empowers the branches to bear fruit. As we grow in our relationship, our friendship, with the Lord, something of his love that surpasses knowledge will become visible in our own lives.
The scripture readings are taken from The Jerusalem Bible, published by Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd and used with the permission of the publishers. http://dltbooks.com/
The Gospel reflection is available with our thanks from Reflections on the Weekday Readings 2021-2022: My Words Will Not Pass Away by Martin Hogan and published by Messenger Publications c/f www.messenger.ie/bookstore