The daily Gospel reading from the Mass for Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter is John 15:9-11.

Christ continues His Farewell Discourse (John 13:31-16:33) in Jerusalem during Holy Week, preparing the Apostles for their mission after His departure. After instructing the Apostles with the Vine and Branches, a powerful allegory which reveals the necessity of remaining connected to Christ, He emphasizes the source of love and how to not become disconnected from the source.

The source of love is revealed in the allegory of the Vine and Branches. Christ (the vine) comes into the world to draw men to God (bear fruit). Men (the branches) must remain attached to Christ (the vine) to build the His Church/the Kingdom (bear fruit) and the Father will continually challenge (prune) them to become even more effective. Like life-giving sap flows through plant vines to the branches, the love of the Father flows through Christ to men who are connected (abiding or remaining in) to Him. To help men abide in Him in a supernatural way, Christ has fed the Apostles with His Body and Blood in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

To stay connected to Christ, the source of love for men, men must imitate Christ’s example of keeping the commandments. As He established earlier in the washing of the Apostles’ feet (John 13:15), Christ is the model for self-giving love. Christ’s remains perfectly connected to the Father’s love by keeping the Father’s commandments. Like Christ, for men to remain connected to the love of the Father and the Son, men must keep Christ’s commandments: His commandments include all His teachings of the New Covenant in the Gospels which He summarizes in the New Commandment to love (John 13:34). Because of His perfect unity with the Father and Holy Spirit, Christ has divine joy; Christ promises that men who abide in Him by keeping His commandments will enjoy the fullness of His joy.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ has the wisdom and power to abide in every man and to grant the “fullness of joy.”  Divine Prophet, Christ offers powerful, enduring metaphors (Vine and Branches) to reveal deep spiritual truths (the Sacrament of the Eucharist). Divine King, Christ provides the perfect model for men and challenges men to imitate Him with both positive and negative motivations.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Marvel that Christ, a Divine Person of the Trinity, has the supernatural power to grant inner peace to men who keep His commandments.

2) To experience the fullness of joy, men must remain in Christ’s love and keep His New Commandment to love God and neighbor (John 13:34). During Easter, renew your commitment to Charity (CCC 1822-1829) and pray for Christ to help you to live a life of overflowing love.

3) When men fail to pray, they fail to abide in Christ, losing the ability to love and to experience true joy. During Easter, reflect on The Battle of Prayer (CCC 2725-2745) and stay close to Christ in prayer, asking Him to help you pray.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Luminous Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Holy Eucharist

Virtue of the Day – Fortitude

Corporal Work of Mercy – To shelter the homeless

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To bear wrongs patiently