Greeting (cf. Second Reading)
We need not be afraid in God’s presence,
and whatever we ask him
we shall receive
that is, if we keep his commandments,
that we believe in Christ and love each other.
May the love and peace of Jesus be with you. R/ And with your spirit.
Much more than a set of truths to believe in, our faith is a union with a living person, a unity of life with Jesus our Lord. His words and actions are our guide in life; our heart is attuned to his heart, and his serving love of God and people is our inspiration and model. We cannot think of him and pray to him all the time, but we can, with his help, try to live his life. That is how we can live in him, remain in him, be one with him as he is one with the Father. Let us be intensely one with him here in this Eucharist and in everyday life.
Penitential Act
Are we really close to Jesus our Lord,
aware that he loves us deeply and is close to us?
Let us examine ourselves before the Lord.
Lord Jesus, your life flows in us:
all praise to you!
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.
Jesus Christ, your love overflows in us:
all praise to you!
Christ, have mercy. R/ Christ, have mercy.
Lord Jesus, your commitment to the Father
and to the good of people overflows in us:
all praise to you!
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.
Show us your mercy, Lord.
Keep us united in you
and lead us to everlasting life. R/ Amen.
Opening Prayer
Let us pray that all may become one
in Jesus, our true vine
Our living and loving God,
you have made yourself very close and dear to us
in your Son Jesus Christ.
Through him we can live your life,
rich and generous and reaching out to others,
for Christ lives in us and we can live in him.
Let your Son bring all together in him,
that all become branches on the same vine
and that the new wine of justice and love
fill all this earth with joy and peace.
We ask this through him whose sap of life flows in us,
Jesus Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.
First Reading: The Difficult Beginnings of An Apostle
From a fanatic persecutor, Paul becomes a zealous apostle. At the beginning, he is distrusted, Barnabas vouches for him and Paul is accepted, but even then he stirs up controversies.
1 Reading: ACTS 9:26-31
When Saul arrived in Jerusalem he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple. Then Barnabas took charge of him and brought him to the apostles, and he reported to them how he had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus. He moved about freely with them 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. It was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord, and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit it grew in numbers.
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 22:26-27, 28, 30, 31-32
R. (26a) I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people. or: Alleluia.
I will fulfill my vows before those who fear the LORD.
The lowly shall eat their fill;
they who seek the LORD shall praise him:
“May your hearts live forever!” R.
All the ends of the earth
shall remember and turn to the LORD;
all the families of the nations
shall bow down before him. R.
To him alone shall bow down
all who sleep in the earth;
before him shall bend
all who go down into the dust. R.
And to him my soul shall live;
my descendants shall serve him.
Let the coming generation be told of the LORD
that they may proclaim to a people yet to be born
the justice he has shown. R.
Second Reading: Faith in Jesus and Mutual Love
We are certain that God is present in us and that we are united with him if we believe in Jesus Christ and love one another with a real and active love.
2 Reading: 1JOHN 3:18-24
Children, let us love not in word or speech but indeed and truth. Now this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth and reassure our hearts before him in whatever our hearts condemn, for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything. Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence in God and receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And his commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us. Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them, and the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit he gave us.
Alleluia: JOHN 15:4A, 5B
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Remain in me as I remain in you, says the Lord.
Whoever remains in me will bear much fruit.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel: I Am the Vine, You Are the Branches
Only when we are united with Jesus in faith and love, like branches on a vine, can our lives be fruitful and God will give us everything that is good.
Gospel: JOHN 15:1-8
Jesus said to his disciples: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. 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. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”
Oscar Wilde, with heavy irony, told a parable: “One day, a certain man walked down the street. It was the first hour and the people were not yet assembled in the market place. The man sat down by the wayside and, raising his eyes, he began to gaze up to heaven. And it came to pass that another man who was passing that way, seeing the stranger, he too stopped and raised his eyes to heaven. At the second and the third hour, others came and did likewise. Soon word of this wondrous happening spread throughout the countryside and many people left their abodes and came to see this stranger. At the ninth hour, when the day was far spent, there was a great multitude assembled. The stranger lowered his eyes from heaven and stood up. Turning towards the multitude, he said in a loud voice: ‘Amen, amen! I say unto you. How easy it is to start a religion!’” Futurologists (yes, there are such people!) predict that religion will thrive in the 21st century, because it will be part of the burgeoning entertainment industry! This at least makes very clear the distinction between religion as a hobby and religion as discipleship. Today’s reading is about discipleship: about being one mind and heart with Christ. The image of a vine is particularly telling, for unlike other trees where you can distinguish clearly between trunk and branches, the vine is just all branches! “I am the vine and you are the branches”: the vine is the branches! Christ is all, and all is Christ.
If we remain in our Lord Jesus Christ as branches on the vine, we may ask what we will and he will give it to us. Let us say to him:
R/ Listen to your people, Lord.
For the vine of the universal Church, that all its faithful may remain one in Christ, live by his love and disseminate his compassion and warmth, let us pray: Listen to your people, Lord.
R/ Listen to your people, Lord.
For Christians in the young Churches, that they may be fervent in their faith; for the faithful in the old Christianities, that they may not take their faith for granted; for believers in persecuted Churches, that they may stand firm and support one another, let us pray:
R/ Listen to your people, Lord.
For wine growers and farmers, that their toil may produce enough food for all so that no one will go hungry or thirsty again, let us pray:
R/ Listen to your people, Lord.
– For those who have cut themselves off from the Church and from Christ, that the inspiring example of good Christians may put them back on the way to the Lord, let us pray:
R/ Listen to your people, Lord.
– For all Christian communities, ours and others, that they may be full of joy, for we know that Jesus loves us and shares in our cares and our happy moments, let us pray:
R/ Listen to your people, Lord.
Lord Jesus, vine in which we live, stay with us always, keep us one with you and each other and make us bear fruits that last, now and for ever. R/ Amen.
Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God, loving Father,
you planted your Son among people
as the true vine of faithful love.
Let him give himself to us today
as our bread of strength
and pour for us the wine of fidelity,
that we may live in him and he in us,
and that we may bear fruits
of unity and love
through Jesus Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.
Introduction to the Eucharistic Prayer
Let us raise our minds and hearts to the Father to thank him for having given us Jesus as our risen Lord and the true vine who unites us with himself and with one another.
Introduction to the Lord’s Prayer
One with God’s Son as branches with the vine,
let us pray to our Father
the prayer which Jesus taught us: R/ Our Father…
Deliver Us
Deliver us, Lord, from every evil
and grant us in our day
the peace of union with your Son, our true vine,
and with all your people.
Protect us from all anxiety,
keep us faithful to you
and make us bear fruits of love and peace,
as we wait in joyful hope
for the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. R/ For the kingdom…
Invitation to Communion
This is the true vine, Jesus our Lord,
without whom we can do nothing.
Happy are we to be invited to his table,
that he may live in us and we in him. R/ Lord, I am not worthy…
Prayer after Communion
Father, you are greater than our heart.
We thank you in this Eucharistic celebration.
for giving us the true vine, your Son Jesus Christ.
May we go on living united with him
and with one another,
that in the uncertainties of life
we may go on believing, hoping and loving.
And when we grope in the dark in days of trial,
reassure us that you are only purifying our faith
and that your are always with us
in people and in your Son,
Jesus Christ, our Lord. R/ Amen.
Our Lord told us today:
“Remain in me, as I remain in you.”
Yes, let us stay in his love
and do the things of everyday life
in union with him and by his strength,
and let us take him to people
by our concern and love.
May almighty God bless you for this:
the Father who loves us,
the Son who lives in us,
and the Holy Spirit who guides us. R/ Amen.
Go in peace, stay united with Christ, and love and serve him in people.
R/ Thanks be to God.

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