Most Catholics experience the faith through a single cultural lens. Yet people all around the world live and imagine it in a rich diversity of ways. Catholics & Cultures is a growing, changing chronicle of the role of Catholicism among the people and within the cultures where it is lived.
The Fifth Sunday of Easter
May 3, 2015
Today's reading from the Gospel of John is part of Jesus' discourse at the Last Supper. Recall that John tells the story of Jesus' Last Supper differently from the other Evangelists. In John's Gospel, the Last Supper begins with Jesus washing his disciples' feet. Jesus then provides them with a series of instructions. We call this section the Last Supper discourse or Jesus' farewell discourse. In these chapters of John's Gospel, Jesus instructs his disciples about the importance of following his example of love and service, about the gift they will receive when Jesus sends them the Holy Spirit, and about their relationship with Jesus and with the world. The Last Supper discourse concludes with Jesus' prayer for his disciples.
Today's Gospel reading is taken from middle of the Last Supper discourse. Jesus speaks about his relationship to his disciples. In his metaphor of the vine and the branches, Jesus is referencing the Hebrew Scriptures. In the Hebrew Scriptures, Israel is the vineyard, and Yahweh himself tends the vineyard. One of the primary themes of John's Gospel is to show Jesus to be the fulfillment of God's promises to Israel.
In this passage, Jesus teaches his disciples that his relationship with them will not end after his death; he will remain with them always. This unity between Jesus and his disciples is the basis for their ability to continue to do the work that he began. Similarly, Jesus' presence with us through the Gift of the Holy Spirit enables us to continue the work of love and reconciliation that he began.
Jesus also teaches his disciples about the importance of the words he has taught to them. Just as Jesus will remain in the disciples, so too will his words. We come to know Jesus through the Scriptures, the living Word of God. Our commitment to be Christ's disciples is sustained through God's Word. This commitment is also strengthened by our life of prayer and nourished by the Eucharist. Through the Eucharist, Jesus dwells in us, remains with us, and transforms us so that we might bear fruit in his name.
We observe many people who act in ways that show their commitment to serve their neighbor. Christians and non-Christians feed the hungry, care for the sick, shelter the homeless, and give alms to the poor. These actions become acts of Christian discipleship when they are motivated by our relationship with Jesus. Whatever the immediate results, Jesus promises us that these actions will bear fruit when we undertake them in his name.
© Loyola Press
Used with permission
Parish of the Precious Blood
November 25, 2014
Dear Visioning Participants,
It is with a profound sense of pride and gratitude as we reach out to all of you who participated in the Parish Visioning Process. Wow, what an outcome! In the next few days, I will put out e-mails to 80 participants. The excitement is felt in our Pastoral Council; help us to keep that excitement alive!
We feel we should share some of that excitement with you. Highlights of our Pastoral Council meeting consisted of comments such as: The presence of the Holy Spirit was most powerful; worship sites came together to share faith; a vision of our Parish Life was presented; the ability to connect a name with a face gave us a sense of community and unity. The testimonies given by some of you were powerful and easy to relate to. Father Labrie was amazed at how two sessions (Nov. 1 & Nov. 8) had the same concerns and insights. He felt that all of you were concerned and engaged in these sessions. He also shared that ‘we are together more than we realize’.
Where do we go from here? Only forward because whatever we do will help us to grow stronger as a parish community.
A lot of work still needs to be done; don’t be scared to continue to share your ideas and gifts with us. Join your Church Councils, be part of your Church Committees, come to a Pastoral Council Meeting, and as we develop a new way of reaching out to all parishioners; BE INVOLVED, MAKE IT HAPPEN!
Attached, you will find a copy of the results of the data collected in the 5 major categories (Communication, Internal Hospitality, External Hospitality, Sharing the Faith and Strengthening the Family) and the action plan that was formulated by all of you.
On November 15, 2014, you and all of us together made it happen! We, the Pastoral Council want to thank each of you for your willingness to participate in moving these plans forward.