Fifth Sunday of Easter (B)

When a few years ago I came to this blessed country, I began to notice that in some churches, especially Methodists and Baptists, the pastors put a name to their Sunday sermon and put it on the sign of the church parking lot. Well, the name of the sermon this Sunday could be Gathered, nourished and sent. I am the vine, you are the branches, we just heard in today’s Gospel. Remain in me as I remain in you. For sure many of us have come upon people who live immoral lives, refuse to worship and then say, “I know God loves me.  I’ll be OK.”  Wrong! Insufficient! My brother, my sister, it is not enough for us to say, “God loves me,” we have to be united to the vine for His Love to flow into us.  We have to want to be related to God[1].

This is what Jesus is speaking about in the Gospel, this is the lesson that we take home today. Knowing where the vine is does not allow the branches to be nourished by the life of the vine. The branches must be part of the vine, grafted onto the vine. God loves us infinitely more than we can imagine, but if we refuse to enter into our Father’s love then we will not have his life flowing through us.

And the Gospel goes on to speak about bearing fruit. You can call it what you want: bear fruit; helping in the parish, do some ministry, lend a hand to those in need, you give the name you want! The point is: if the branch is united to the vine, it bears much fruit. If the branch is not united to the vine, the branch will wither and die and there will be no fruit. God calls us to make His message real in the world. He calls us to be witnesses of the Resurrection. He calls us to bring His Love to the world. He is not calling us just to be in His presence. He is calling us to transform the world with His Presence. Husbands and wives, parents and children, neighbors and friends, priests and laity, all are called to live the Life that matters so completely that others are attracted to that Life.

You know, The Life of Christ is a magnet. When people experience this Life in others they want it for themselves. These people, those who turn to God, are fruit. Our union with God draws them to Him. They are the fruit we have been called to bear.

We come to St. Vincent de Paul to praise God, to worship God, but if this is all we do, reverence His Presence here, and then return to a pagan world living immersed in pagan values, we are not really worshiping God, we just are, forgive me, warming the seat of the parish. My brother, my sister, we gather so we may be nourished. We are nourished so we may be sent to others. Gathered, nourished and sent. Those are the actions of a Eucharistic People.

When we live our Christianity in our workplace, at our schools, in our neighborhoods, others experience the presence of God; others feel the love and care of the Good Shepherd, as we just said last Sunday, Ah! by the way! I must say something today. Last Sunday, when I finished the noon Mass and I felt really sick, a lady of the parish had gone to the pharmacy and brought medicine, water and tissues. That's a Christian attitude. That is the united care of by others. I was very happy and very grateful for this wonderful community, but we need to give more. More.

God is with us, yes.  But to have a relationship with God, we need to be with Him too. When we do this, when we are united to the vine, then we can do the work of the Christian. We can draw others to Him. We can bear fruit.

Let us ask in this Eucharist the help of our blessed Mother the Virgin Mary, you know, She always takes us to her Son, she always says Do whatever he tells you[2]. May the Virgin will lead us as to his son and help us to bear fruit, fruit in abundance ■

[1] Sunday 6th May, 2012, 5th Sunday of Easter. Readings: Acts 9:26-31. I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people—Ps 21(22):26-28, 30-32. 1 John 3:18-24. John 15:1-8.
[2] Cfr Jn 2:5

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris