Commentary on the Gospel of

Fr. Roland Onuekwusi Chidiebere, CMF

Aligned to Jesus, we work together

-          Teamwork and complementarity

-          Jesus first!

-          Bonded with Jesus Christ

Paul and Barnabas edify us on working together in obedience to the Holy Spirit, the spirit of Jesus, the Vine. Apparently, these are two distinct personalities: Paul is the more outspoken type, more versatile with Jewish education, a lot more exposed. On the other hand, Barnabas, as the name designates, is a big source of encouragement; the generous man who laid his proceeds at the feet of the apostles. Seemingly their varieties complement each other. The Holy Spirit, who sees from within, paired them for His special mission to the Gentiles. And today, both are delegated to Jerusalem for the very important doctrinal controversy brought about by their fellow Jews. Submissive to the Holy Spirit, they feared no one, agreed in placing Jesus over and above their traditional Jewish inheritance: proceeded to Jerusalem together in defence of ‘faith’ over and above ‘circumcision.’ Once we place Jesus first, we can always mutually understand ourselves in the course of our teamwork.

Our exemplar, the Lord Jesus Christ, presents to us another aspect of His relationship with the Father: ‘I am the true vine and my Father is the vine grower.’ It is a Father-Son relationship. We are presented with a Father who is:

Cautious in caring, for He cuts away the non-producing branch;

Resplendent in retaining, for the pruned branch blossoms with the Vine;

Providential in protecting, for the retained branch bears more fruits.

Realizing that we are the pruned branches, the disciplined branches, that’s why we remain with Jesus the Vine, we are reassured and have nothing to fear. Staying with Jesus means tapping the fruit-bearing virtues from Him, as his branches:

Nourished with Charity: home for birds of the air, share the little we possess with others;

                Full of compassion: aligned parts, wear the shoes of the less privileged, the sick, the needy;

                Unrestrained in mercy: as ‘redeemed’ by his wounds, readily forgive those who hurts us.

 O God, give us the grace of deeper bonding with our Lord Jesus Christ and with each other as we bear witness to His resurrection, through the same Christ our Lord, amen.


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