Universal call to holiness

5th Sunday of Easter
Cycle B

Pope Benedict's message on the World Day of Prayer for Vocations underscored the importance of holiness as a requisite for authentic Christian life. From this also springs forth the gift of vocations to the priestly and religious life among young people.

Unfortunately, people excuse themselves from the world of holiness. Some are so critical of the holiness of priests but not their own. All of us are called to a life of holiness. There are no higher or lesser degrees of holiness. To exempt ourselves from struggling to be holy is to open ourselves to the world of darkness and sin. "He who is not with me is against me," says the Lord.

The same explanation applies to the gospel for today. "I am the vine; you are the branches .... apart from me you are nothing." It is a dangerous thing to exempt oneself from the world of the Lord; we become automatic slaves to evil.

Let us struggle through the world of holiness by constantly clinging to Jesus to bring life to us. And let us also aim to be fruitful in our spiritual lives. Let our faith be manifest in our actions each day. The corporal and spiritual works of mercy are concrete manifestations of a fruitful life of holiness - in that we give food to the hungry, give shelter to the homeless, instruct the ignorant, console the afflicted, and so forth. ample reminders to us on what type. May these actions flow from our desire to live a life of holiness.