Deacon’s Beacon: Branches That Bear Fruit

Posted on April 27, 2021 by Published by

“Whoever remains in Me, And I in him, Will bear much fruit.”

Jesus speaks these words to His disciples in this Sunday’s gospel.  To get a better understanding of His message, I would like to return to last Sunday’s gospel.

Last Sunday Jesus tells us the parable of the “Good Shepherd” – He says that He is our Shepherd – and that we are His flock.  In today’s gospel, He tells us that He is the vine and we are the branches.

Relating these gospels to our world today raised several questions for me.  Last Sunday’s Second Reading says that “the world did not know Him.”  The first question is “How do we know Him?”

Where do we find Him?”  “How do we hear Him?”  The answers for me are – we hear Him in the voice of the hungry, the begging of homeless people, who are all too real in our society; we hear him in the voice of the sick and those suffering abuse.  He is everywhere in our world.

Then the question becomes not “do we hear Him” but how do we respond.  We could say, “What concern of this is mine?”  Jesus responds to us “whatever you do for the least of my brethren, you do for me.”  Jesus is telling us to help those in need, to make a difference.

Then we may respond, “OK!” how do we make a difference?  Sometimes, our response is very informal – it could be spending time with ailing family members and friends and neighbors.  (Getting off the iPhone and listening.)  Praying for people who are sick, for those who have died.

Many of us at Our Lady of the Wayside are able to take a more active role by volunteering in some of the many ministries of support and outreach, such as:

St. Mark’s activities – The need for food is greater than ever during this Covid Pandemic; and the Christmas Giving Tree provides much needed joy to those with special needs.

The Shawl Ministry prepares beautiful hand-knitted shawls, they are blessed by Fr. Arthur and distributed to those sick or facing major surgery.

The P.A.D.S. ministry has been an active ministry for more than twenty years.  As a result of the pandemic, there is a temporary pause in this ministry, but it will soon return.

St. Vincent DePaul has experienced increased needs as a result of the pandemic.  They would benefit from increased contributions and talking with people who are interested in volunteering for this ministry.

Many other ministries are in need of additional volunteers and, in some cases, financial support.  Additional information will be provided in the future, showing how others can get involved.

But we ask, how does the parable of the vine and the branches in today’s gospel relate to last Sunday’s gospel?  Last week Jesus tells us that He is the shepherd and that we should follow Him.  Today’s gospel tells us that we get the strength to do that by following His teaching and doing His ministry.

Jesus speaks of himself as the true vine.  In biblical times Israel was covered with numerous vineyards that were necessary for food and drink.  The metaphor would mean that as long as His followers remained close to him they would have necessary nourishment and have life.  It is from the vine that life can flourish and grow.  He is the conduit to our Heavenly Father.

“whatever you to for the least, you do for me.”

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