From the Deacon’s Desk: Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts
May 2 – Fifth Sunday of Easter
This is the season of renewed life coming back into the Church. This year, that has particular meaning. We have come from the darkness of despair and suffering. As we emerge from the pandemic; the Easter Vigil, First Communions and Confirmations have reminded us of the hope and promise of Jesus. Our Psalm this week is the second half of Psalm 22 – we heard the first part at the beginning of Holy Week. It was the chilling words of abandonment. As we know though, those words are not the end of the story. For the Psalm is truly a message of Thanksgiving born out of complete confidence and trust that God does not abandon us! The words of the Psalm just before today’s section transition us from the Passion to the promise. “For God…did not turn away from me, but heard me when I cried out!” He answers us and He rescues us from all that afflicts us. As St. John tells us, “We should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us.” We are called to be his love and his healing, nourished by the author of love himself – Jesus Christ.
“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.” Jesus tells us. He is the source of everything that we have and are. If we stray and lose sight of the vine we will wither and die. But when we connect ourselves fully to him in trust and humility, we can do anything! This is the core of humility – a recognition that all we have and are comes from God. But with the nourishment He gives us, we are able to bear much fruit. And connected to Him, we receive His love that we might share it out to others as we are called to by St. John.
For us as Vincentians, these readings remind us of what Vincent and Frèdèric continually told us – we trust in God’s Divine Providence seeking and following His will, we take the love He gives to us and we go out in humility but with great passion to service those most in need. Through our prayer life, meditation on scripture, and in particular, participation in the Eucharist, we are nourished that we might bear much fruit ministering to those most in need. Now more than ever, we need to make ourselves present to those who are hurting. We need to re-ignite the flame of hope, confident in God’s love for us and our neighbors, and trusting in His will. How do I stay connected to the vine through my prayer life, meditation on scripture and the Eucharist? How do I help others to find renewed optimism and hope? How do I overcome the fears of this past year for myself and those around me?
Lord Jesus, you are the vine and we are the branches. Help me to stay connected for on my own I am weak and nothing. Grace me with the courage to trust in your protection of me. Give me confidence to glorify you offering thanksgiving for your great goodness. Allow me to become your presence and your love in action, being a beacon of light leading the faithful forward. Permit me to overcome my fears, instilling in those around me a renewed joy in life. We pray all of this in your name. Amen