YEAR B: HOMILY/REFLECTION FOR THE FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
HOMILY THEME: THE PILLAR THAT HOLDS MY LIFE
BY: Fr Christian Eze
First reading – Acts 9:26-31
Second reading – 1 Jn 3:18-24
Gospel – Jn 15:1-8
“The younger son said to his father, ‘let me have the share of the estate that would come to me’… [He] got together everything… and left for a distant country”. Lk. 15:11-13
How else can we best describe the above lines taken from the story of the prodigal son if not in the light of the popular adage, someone biting the finger that was feeding him! We all know how the story of the young man ended. It was to avoid such a regrettable end, who knows, that Jesus speaks directly to us in the gospel of today: “As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself, but must remain part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me” Jn 15:4. The branch took its existence from the vine. It is fed by the vine. No branch survives independent of the vine. The vine gave the branch an existential meaning. It calls to mind that we must not forget the source that made us whatever we are today.
Perfectly then, if we are obliged to pay allegiance to our earthly fathers, failure of which has repercussions, how much more we ought never to cut off from God who gave even our earthly fathers their existence. In that case, to lose sight of God is to be finished entirely: “for cutoff from me you can do nothing” – Jn 15:5. Just as the vine that gave the branch its existence gave it also its existential meaning to be called “the branch of…”, so also, God gave us our existence and gave our life its definition. We never caused ourselves to be. In the beginning, the two accounts of the creation of man as given in Gen. 1:26-27 and 2:7 would make us realize that the decision and purpose of the creation of man never came from him. It was God who decided to make man; it was God who chose the purpose for which He made man. No wonder why the fall of man in Gen. 3 started immediately man sought to choose his own ways and never the ways God set for him. He cut himself off from the vine and withered.
What would make a man cut himself off from God, the pillar that holds his life? One among others must include the feeling that God lacked proper thoughts in giving us the way we must follow. It was just like when the serpent brought Eve to start analyzing the rule given by God: “did God say…? By such analysis, Eve began to feel that may be God was speaking in parables or there must have been a mistake in God’s rules. Seeking to put it the way it would suit them cut them off from the stock. How do you feel when you read up or hear some of the commandments of God, the teachings of Christ? Perhaps when you hear something like: “thus says the Lord ‘vengeance is mine’” – (Rom. 12:19), you may say to yourself, not in this particular case I found myself now. I know this, situations abound when we might feel that going about things the way God said we should, might not lead us to the right place. Yet, for us to find the true meaning of our lives, we must be loyal in order to be fed and given direction by the vine whose branch we are. He leads us, and He knows the way. Abide in Him.