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Items filtered by date: April 2021

Fruit of Vine or Tree

(5th Sunday of Easter: Acts 9:26-31; 1 John 3:18-24; John 15:1-8)

Jesus, drawing on a sight familiar to anyone in his day, describes himself as a vine and his disciples as branches in the Father’s vineyard. For us, he might have used a different metaphor, a fruit orchard, for example. Then he would have said, “I am the tree.”

Everything else would be the same: “A branch cannot bear fruit on its own... Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit.” Good branches are pruned and bad ones discarded.

The Father, who tends the vine, also tends the tree. He knows that certain shoots grow fast but will never bear fruit, and if allowed to grow they will simply drain resources from the rest. He also knows exactly what is needed to promote healthy growth, and to produce the best and most abundant fruit.

Jesus seems almost to be pleading with his disciples when he says, “Remain in me, as I remain in you.” He cares about them. At La Salette, a Beautiful Lady sadly observed that some Christians were no longer heeding that appeal.

Using Mary’s own language about spoiled wheat and rotten potatoes, we might say she found the vine or tree to be in need of much pruning and care, full of blight, and covered with the useless shoots of spiritual apathy. She therefore comes with the remedy, the necessary medicine when she offers us the opportunity for conversion and reconciliation, so we, the branches, might return to bearing fruit once again.

There is another way in which La Salette is an example of what true conversion can do in producing good fruit. Look at the missionary efforts of the religious communities and lay movements which have developed around the Apparition. Through them, many persons and countries have received Mary’s “great news;” the mission has led to abundant fruits of reconciliation.

If we may favor, for a moment, the metaphor of the tree, we may think of windfall fruit, which the grower does not throw away. We might apply this to marginalized persons. They must be included in our mission; as St. John says in the second reading: “Let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.”

Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.

Published in MISSION (EN)
Wednesday, 07 April 2021 10:36

NEW: Rosary - April 2021

Published in LAY ASSOCIATES (EN)

The Lord is my...

(4th Sunday of Easter: Acts 4:8-12; 1 John 3:1-2; John 10:11-18)

Most of us, if asked to finish the above title phrase, would say: Shepherd. We might even be surprised that today, often called “Good Shepherd Sunday,” we do not have the Twenty-third Psalm as our responsorial.

However, while the Gospel focuses on Jesus as Shepherd, the other readings and the Psalm provide other images or titles.

For example, Jesus is the stone rejected. St. Peter, continuing his discourse which we began reading last week, applies Psalm 118 to the people gathered around him in the Temple: “The stone rejected by you the builders,” reflecting the hostile relationship on the part of some of the people and their leaders.

At La Salette, the Blessed Virgin gave examples of the ways in which her people had rejected her Son. Have we, personally, ever deserved her reproaches? As we contemplate the crucifix on her breast, do we hear Peter’s words, speaking of “Jesus Christ the Nazorean whom you crucified”? If so, let us approach the Lord with humble repentance.

Jesus is the cornerstone, the foundation of our faith and of the Church. This image is very close to what we find in Psalm 18, where David calls the Lord “my strength, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.” Here we stand before our God in a relationship of trust.

It is the same with the Good Shepherd, of course, even though sometimes we are tempted by pride to strike out on our own, and finding only the sinful path by ourselves. Since we would never want the Shepherd to abandon us—remember Mary’s words, “If I want my Son not to abandon you”—why would we ever abandon him? We need him to guide us, to nourish us (especially in the Eucharist), to protect us.

Stone rejected, Cornerstone, Good Shepherd: see how these are not just names but relationships with God the Son.

Some might say, “The Lord is my friend,” not as an equal, of course, but as one who truly cares about us. This is part of the La Salette message.

Think about it. Who is Jesus for you? Who are you for him? Most importantly, do you feel how deeply you are loved? And do you respond in kind?

Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.

Published in MISSION (EN)
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