Word Sharing Circle (WSC) Reflection Guide
April 29, 2018– 5th Sunday of Easter (Cycle B, Year II)
Community Word: The resurrection of Jesus Christ strengthens our faith.
Theme: Our faith is strengthened when we bear much fruit for God’s kingdom.
Promise: If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.” (Jn 15:7)
Authentic Christian life is a life in relationship with Jesus and the Father under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is a challenge to truly recognize the presence of Jesus, giving us the breath of new life and the capacity to bear fruit. It is not enough to believe that we have received new life in the Spirit by remaining attached to the vine which is Jesus. Our lives as the branches have to produce fruit. Just as the branch receives its life from the vine, we, individually and as members of the community of believers, receive life from Jesus, united with him in love, the love he also shares with his heavenly Father.
Jesus invites us to remain in him because apart from him we are nothing. By ourselves we cannot receive the gift of divine life nor can we pass it to others. To realize this makes us humble and keeps us from over-estimating our worth and abilities. To remain in oneness with Jesus is the starting point and goal of Christian life. It is also the source of our fruitfulness. By remaining in Jesus, we can bring to reality our potentials, big or small. Our continuing relationship with him is the true and only source of fruitfulness.
To abide in Christ means to be in communion with him so that our lives will be pleasing to Jesus. We know that we are abiding when the Father prunes us so that we can produce the best fruit that we can be. This is articulated in our theme for this week – Our faith is strengthened when we bear much fruit for God’s kingdom. Jesus is saying to us: “Remain in me, and I will remain in you,” (Jn 15:4). We maintain and cultivate our relationship with Christ through the study of God’s word and living it.
When Jesus tells us to remain in him, he wants us to be open and sincere. Our relationship with him must be intimate and receptive. But oftentimes, we wander away when we become surrounded and are influenced by worldly ways. While we profess our faithfulness to the Lord, we are still the master of our lives. When it comes to choices and priorities, our preferences prevail, following our own will, not the Lord’s will. But God’s love and care for us brings us back to Jesus. He prunes us of what is not useful to make us more effective and productive disciples of Christ. In the process of trimming off the excesses of our lives, there may be painful detachment, disengagement from people and things, discomforts, inconveniences and sacrifices. But these are all necessary to keep our relationship and faith in Christ clean, pure and fruitful. The word of the Lord is our “spiritual antiseptic” that prevents spiritual infections of resentment, self-centeredness, pride and envy from setting in. We are constantly “pruned” to prevent us from growing into a life of sinfulness and self-righteousness.
How do we manifest that our lives are fruitful in the kingdom of God? It is when we remain in Christ and bear fruit of love and service for others. Do we inspire others to draw near to the Lord by our genuine witnessing? Does our relationship with Jesus blossom into a good relationship with others when we are concerned about them and help them in their struggles and sufferings? The love of God as shown through our care and love for one another in words and actions is a clear sign that we are truly disciples of Jesus; that “he is the vine and we are the branches.”
We are indeed called to play a significant role in the kingdom of God by allowing our life to be lived through and in Christ. For as he says, “apart from me you can do nothing,” (Jn 15:5). We can accomplish many things in life, even the impossible, if we are united with the Lord. For He is greater than our hearts, our sinfulness, our intentions, our dreams, and our ambitions. In our faith journey, let us do our utmost to walk in the path of righteousness, humility, obedience and commitment and be Christ’s servants for other. Our consolation comes from the Lord’s promise in John 15:17: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.”
Compassionate and loving Jesus, may I always be in union with You, with my heart in Yours. Remain in me and be with me at all times. Hold me closely and never let me go. Embrace me tightly and stay intimately with me in all situations, especially in times of trials and temptations. This I pray in Jesus name. Amen.
1. What situations have you experienced when you felt that you were away from Jesus? How did you feel when these happened?
2. How do you sustain your relationship with Jesus in terms of serving others?
This Week’s Daily Mass Reading Guide:
April 29, 2018 (Sun) – Acts 9:26-31/ Ps 22:26-27, 28, 30, 31, 32/ 1Jn 3:18-24/ Jn 15:1-8
April 30, 2018 (Mon) – Acts 14:5-18/ Ps 115:1-2, 3-4, 15-16/ Jn 15:21-26
May 1, 2018 (Tue) – Gen 1:26-2:3/ Ps 90:2-4, 12-13, 14, 16/ Mt 13:54-58
May 2, 2018 (Wed) – Acts 15:1-6/ Ps 122:1-5/ Jn 15: 1-8
May 3, 2018 (Thu) – 1Cor 15:1-8/ Ps 19: 2-3, 4-5/ Jn 14: 6-14
May 4, 2018 (Fri) – Acts 15:22-31/ Ps 57:8-9, 10, 12/ Jn 15:12-17
May 5, 2018 (Sat) – Acts 16:1-10/ Ps 100:1-2, 3, 5/ Jn 15:18-21
“Ignorance of the Bible is ignorance of Christ. Read your Bible daily!”