The Spring Time for Our Soul

04-29-2018Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

We will shortly see along the rolling hills of country Massachusetts all sorts of farm people at work trimming the branches of our fruit trees or our grape vineyards. Spring is the most important season to tend to the special care of tree branches and vines. Weak or sick branches and vines are pruned out and thrown away or into a fire. This also went on in the day and times of Jesus. He saw all this work and action every year in his land. He knew that this necessary work in the long run produced good things for everyone, wonderful full-tasting fruit or rich-tasting grapes for wine. The Gospel for this Sunday is drawn from Jesus' long Last Supper discourse which is in the Springtime when the signs of beginning life in plants, vines and trees are showing everywhere. Jesus uses these images to speak of his relationship to the apostles. They must be tightly grafted to him, as branches are to the vine. He is the strong vine from which they all draw their life.

Jesus does not focus on the solidarity of the apostles with one another, but instead focuses on the very source of that solidarity - himself. He is the source of each life. They can grow from this single, life giving source. He is the source of their life and of all of their relationships.

The first reading offers an insight into this reality. In this passage we see newly converted Saul present among the Apostles, who are afraid of him for he was once their avowed enemy. Barnabas handles this issue by telling them how Saul had spoken fearlessly "… in the name of Jesus." Barnabas succeeds in this and as a result it is the Greek-speaking Jews who quarrel with Saul. Aside from this issue, the "church" at this point was at peace and was growing. There were minor problems and personality conflicts, but when they all stayed focused on Jesus, problems
were very small.

Our second reading is meant to be advice to help the Church avoid internal conflict and know what matters. We are advised to live by faith in the name of Jesus Christ and by a love that shows in deed and truth.

Like the early Church, we may be faced with injustice and a lack of peace at times. Know that we are called to pray for peace and justice and also to act in love with every deed. To be grafted or connected to Jesus, we must do these things. To be a branch of his or to be a vine coming forth from him, we must always pray and act in Jesus.

Jesus calls for our communion in him, which is the source of our communion with one another. Our prayers and deeds cannot be just pious ideology. They must be based in reality in practical deeds. This is a major theme of Pope Francis.

Always remember the source of our life is the risen Lord. Then consider that we flow in life from and through him. The Easter Season is the spring time for our soul.

Father Brian

Thank you: Starting next weekend (May 5-6), the request to receive Holy Communion on- ly in the hand is at an end. I am appreciative of those who cooperated with this recommended health protocol for the sake of others. We will not return to the Distribution of the Precious Blood for some time yet because of the obvious issues.