Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Jn 15:1-8 Connections

Fifth Sunday of Easter

(Click here for readings)


Jesus said to his disciples:  "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. ...Remain in me, as I remain in you.  Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.  I am the vine, you are the branches."

A little bit of history.  In his book "On the Revolutions of the heavenly bodies," Nicolai Copernicus proposed that the Sun, not the Earth, was the center of our Solar System.  Such a model is known as a heliocentric system.  His discovery was a giant leap in mankind's understanding of the heavens.  

But his astronomical discovery was manipulated and hijacked by others, mostly social scientists, and applied to mankind.  Not long after the Copernicus revolution, it soon followed that man was quickly removed from "the center" and downgraded to the status of a mere animal.  In fact, some of the experts even went so far as to consider mankind as a sort of parasite or virus.

Ernst Haeckel, the German biologist, naturalist, physician and professor, took advantage of Charles Darwin's theories of evolution, and began to apply them to the various human races.  Thirty years later, Nazi Germany applied them to their racial/ethnic cleansing programs.

With regards to Darwinian evolution, there are two words that have been floating around the academic circles for some time now:  synergy and cooperation.  It seems like cooperation may be more of an influence on the development of species than competition.  I will leave this for others to decide.

The point I'd like to make is found in Christ's revolutionary teaching:  "I am the vine, you are the branches."  In other words: I need you, you need me.  We need each other. 

Life is not so much about competition as it is about cooperation.  It is not so much about who is better, but teaching and learning from each another. 

I am the vine, you are the branches.  Now go bear some fruit.

Staying connected.  I need you.  You need me. Of course this isn't an easy thing to admit, and being American doesn't help. 

Teens have been brainwashed into thinking that the age of 18 (or 21) is some kind of magical number.  They've been brainwashed - coco washed - by Big Brother: Big Industry, Big Government and Big Hollywood.  They can't wait until they go off to College.  Why?  So that they can be - here's another magical word - INDEPENDENT.

I hate to be the one to break it to them, but there is no such thing as "independence."  This is a secular dogma.  No one can live on their own.  No one can be self-sufficient.  No one is an island.  We are all connected. 

I need you, you need me.  We need each other.

And every time we try to go it alone we fail. 

Every kid who thinks they made it to graduation alone is a fool.
Every spouse who thinks they can lead alone is a fool.
Every child who thinks they can do it alone is a fool.

I am the vine, you are the branches.

We need to cooperate with each other.  We need to seek out one another.  We need councils and  counsel.  We need to work together and act together.  We need each other.  It's that simple. 

Since we come from God as well as from others, we need each other.  First God, then our neighbor.

There is always a bigger picture.

When we don't cooperate and consult, then we have problems.

St. Paul was an outstanding follower of Jesus Christ and a tremendous apologist and evangelist for the Lord.  But he often rubbed people the wrong way.  Today's first reading illustrates this point:

...[I]n Damascus [Paul] spoke out boldly in the name of Jesus.  He moved about freely with the [Apostles] in Jerusalem, and spoke out boldly in the name of the Lord.  He also spoke and debated with the Hellenists, but they tried to kill him.  And when the brothers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him on his way to Tarsus. 

The Church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria was at peace.

As you can see, once Paul left, the Church was at peace.

We can't do it alone.  We can't be Lone Rangers.  It doesn't work this way.  It never has. 

Those who work alone suffer from Alzheimer's disease, at least that is what Pope Francis calls it.  It's one of the fifteen diseases of leadership:

There is also a sort of “leadership Alzheimer’s disease.” It consists in losing the memory of those who nurtured, mentored and supported us in our own journeys. We see this in those who have lost the memory of their encounters with the great leaders who inspired them; in those who are completely caught up in the present moment, in their passions, whims and obsessions; in those who build walls and routines around themselves, and thus become more and more the slaves of idols carved by their own hands.

Cooperation, not competition.  Connections, not disconnections.  There is always a bigger picture, and it includes just about everyone. 


  1. Wow! Great meditation fr. Alfonse. Thank you so much

  2. Beautiful!!!
    Loved it for its so true to the meaning of HIS WORD!
    God bless you!

  3. In Spe Salvi, Pope Benedict XVI wrote: No man is an island entire of itself. Our lives are involved with one another through innumerable interactions they are linked together. No one lives alone. No one sins alone. No one is saved alone. The lives of others continually spill over into mine in what I think, say, do and achieve. And conversely my life spills over into that of others for better or for worse. Prayer for another is not something extraneous to that person something external not even after death. In the interconnectedness of Beng, my gratitude to the other, my prayer for him, can play a certain part in his purification.
    just what you said.....

  4. Here's my 2 cents: as babies we are totally dependent upon our parents for everything. As we mature to say 24 -25 years old we become independent. Our egos are build up enough to think that we can change the world with our "take control" attitudes, words and actions. Finally, between say 30 and 40 years old we realize that the true objective of the game is to give up our ego / pride and become interdependent with one another. We begin to understand more of God and more of their Trinitarian relationship. Jesus had to show us humans what that looks like by coming to earth. I have gradually come to understand that we must build up our ego so that we have something to give to God. We can't give what we don't have. In this way we have something to die to..... our pride. I would think that Saint Paul eventually understood this.

    In this way of thinking I must give up the confidence in myself but I have got to put it somewhere. I cannot just let it go anywhere. I have to put that same confidence in God.. By shifting that confidence from me to Him I can finally begin to comprehend his words " My grace is enough."


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