Fifth Sunday Easter - Year B
Saul of Tarsus
Today's first reading mentions someone named Saul, who tries to meet the Apostles and is rebuffed. Without some background context this doesn't mean much. Saul is better known by his Roman name of Paul, the first great Christian missionary. The reason why the Apostles rejected him is that he had been a rabid fanatic against Christianity. Saul had lead what amounted to a one-man crusade against the followers of Jesus. He had caused the arrest of many of them and even participated in their executions!
This all changed when he dramatically converted to the very faith he had hated. No wonder the Apostles were suspicious.
Jesus uses qrape vines as an analogy for the personal connection that exists between himself and the people of God. Some vines produce more leaves than grapes. Often those cultivating the plants must cut unhealthy branches to force to produce more grapes. So must we prune those parts of our lives which weaken our bond with Jesus.
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