May 30, 2009


John 15:26-27; 16:12-15

We Are a Team, and the Holy Spirit Is the Quarterback

This passage is taken from the words of Jesus during the Last Supper. The Lord says to his disciples, “The Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father [will] testify to me. And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning” (15:26-27). In Chapter 15, before and after these verses, Jesus predicts the hatred his disciples will endure from the world.

In that context, the Spirit is Jesus’ gift for his disciples to help them remain as faithful witnesses.

Disciples throughout the ages share the same mission of testifying to Jesus. Unlike the first generation disciples, we do not have the direct knowledge of the Lord Jesus. Yet, just like those disciples, we have the same Spirit who “will guide [us] to all truth. He will take what is [Jesus’] and declare it to [us]” (16:13, 14). So, though we do not know Jesus directly like the disciples, we know Him. The Spirit leads us to Jesus. He also leads us forward to testify to Jesus. The Spirit is our true quarterback.

May 22, 2009


7th Sunday of Easter – B
John 17:11b-19

Jesus’ disciples do not belong to the world …

In this passage of John’s gospel, Jesus prays for his disciples before he is taken from them. His words also convey parts of his farewell message to his friends. Jesus is coming to the Father. His friends will remain in the world, but “they do not belong to the world any more than [Jesus belongs] to the world” (v. 16). They belong to Jesus because he sends them into the world. Moreover, Jesus prays to the Father for his friends so that just as the Father consecrated Jesus for his mission, the Father now consecrates the disciples for their mission.

The disciples will be consecrated by God who is holy (v. 12), and whose word is truth (v. 17). This act of consecration makes the disciples holy because they are set apart for God and God’s purpose.[1]

As a result, they belong to God.


[1] Barclay, William. The Gospel of John, Revised Edition, Vol. 2. Philadelphia, Westminster Press, 1975; p. 153.

May 9, 2009


5th Sunday of Easter – B
John 15:1-8

Secret of A Fruitful Branch

In the short span of 5 verses (vs. 4-8), Jesus uses the word “remain” 7 times. The emphasis is clear. It is obvious that just as a branch cannot bear fruit apart from the vine, neither can we apart from Jesus.

But even when a branch is on the vine, there is no certainty that it will bear fruit. These branches would be cut off so as not to waste the vine’s energy. And for the branches that bear fruits, the farmer still has to prune it. Pruning means taking away what prevents the branch to be most productive, or prevents the fruits to be of best quality.

“The Greek verb used (for to prune) can also mean to cleanse.”[1] It is the same verb Jesus used during the washing of the feet when he says to Peter, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, but is entirely clean; and you are clean, but not every one of you” (13:10). And as disciples, we are pruned by Jesus’ words (15:3).[2]

So we have here the secret of a fruitful branch: to remain with Jesus, the vine, and to allow God, the vine grower to prune us with the words of the Son, Jesus, our Risen Lord.

[1] Winstanley, Michael. Symbols and Spirituality: Reflecting on John’s Gospel. Bolton, England: Don Bosco Publications; p. 155.
[2] Moloney, Francis J, SDB., The Gospel of John. Sacra Pagina Series, Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1998; p. 420.

May 2, 2009


4th Sunday of Easter – B
John 10:11-18
The Father knows me and I know the Father

Qualities of the good shepherd:
- He lays down his life for the sheep, unlike the hired man who runs away in face of danger and abandons the sheep.
- He does not work for pay
- He has concern for the sheep
- He knows the sheep and the sheep know him.
- He gathers the sheep to his fold so that there will be one flock, and one shepherd.
- He leads.
- The sheep hear his voice.
But the main quality is his willingness to lay down his life for the sheep, a point Jesus repeats three times in this short passage.

All these are the qualities of the Good Shepherd. And in the Greek text, the word used for good here is kalos, which means “noble” or “ideal,” not simply “good at” something[1]

Jesus, the Good Shepherd, possesses these qualities thanks to his intimate relationship with the Father. “Just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.”

In Christ, we experience God’s love for us and for all humanity.

In Christ, we discover the secret to live our vocations as He does, namely to know the Father who is the loving Father of all.

On this Good Shepherd Sunday, please pray for vocations and that all Christians learn to lead others to God through sacrificial love.

[1] Perkins, Pheme. “The Gospel according to John.” The New Jerome Biblical Commentary. Ed. Raymond E. Brown, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, and Roland Murphy. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1990; p. 968.