5/2/2021 Sunday Mass video & homily -- now available
ALLELUIA! HE IS RISEN!
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HOMILY FOR 5/2/2021: FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
MSGR. PAUL ENKE
Happily, the Easter season is very much with us along with the full flowering of spring around us. At least that's what I see each day as I look out across my backyard and up the hill behind my house. The redbuds are brilliant, along with the crabapple blossoms and dogwood trees as well, and many other of the blooming bushes and trees.
The scene reminds me of a line from the sweet little book and bestseller,
The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, and the Horse
. That book is almost scriptural in its tone and meaning. It shows the boy, the fox, and the mole gazing out at the wild on a starlit night, and the boy saying, "So much beauty we have to look after."
And that put me in mind of Jesus, who told the story of the vine and the branches. As he once gazed out at the nearby vineyard, he must have said, too, "So much beauty we need to look after." He focused on the meaning of those grapevines and concluded this way: "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."
The Australian Cistercian monk, Fr. Casey, has some wonderful thoughts on this Gospel that spoke to me, and I hope they will to you as well. And he wrote:
"A perfect moral life is not the foundation of Christianity, although it may be its ultimate goal--reached about ten minutes before we die. The essence of Christian religion is our being grafted into Christ, allowing the true vine's energizing sap to circulate through our veins so that all our thoughts, words, and deeds are progressively upgraded, and we become more Christlike. It is a slow process, but eventually it yields fruit and continues to do so as long as we remain on the vine. We are not the source of our own virtue; it is all gift," he says.
"And then what about our sins? Like the poor, they are with us always. These are the shadows that tend to deepen as the light within us burns more brightly. Meanwhile, our inevitable moral failures don't seem to make any difference to God's attitude toward us. 'Even though our hearts condemn us,' writes St. John, God is greater than our hearts, and he knows the whole story.'"
So I'd say the bottom line is this: we all need to remain on the vine and remain more Christlike, ever so slowly. And then all of us--all of us--can produce more fruit in life, here in our parish and our wider community, and, yes, even in the world.
And this is the way we do that: "We too should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another as he has commanded us. And love not in word or speech, but in deed and in truth."
And so, this is the prayer we should all have, too, for the young people of our parish of St. Edward's who will be confirmed next Thursday evening by Bishop Brennan--that they will remain grafted to the true vine who is Jesus Christ, and, yes, that they may go on to bear much fruit in life.
They face a world that is rapidly changing before their eyes. And so, we do pray that the Holy Spirit who built up that early Church will do the same for them. May the consolation of that same Holy Spirit be theirs and with them. May it be ours, too.
St. Edward Church
on Saturday, May 1 at 2:58PM