Homily by Fr. Paul Plante
5th Sunday of Easter
May 1, 1988
Scriptural Reference: John 15:1-8
Hearing Jesus make use of a beautiful example from nature to give us a better understanding of our intimate relationship with him – the vine and the branches – an example that comes to us at a time when we are very conscious of what is happening in nature around us – sort of tired of winter – eager to see more signs of life. Our eyes are noticing the spring flowers, buds on the trees and green grass, sounds of birds that have not been around for several months, the good feeling of warmth from the sun when we are lucky enough to have a bright day!
Nature points towards God and we should all be open to the many ways God tries to speak to us through nature. With the advent of spring, nature speaks so eloquently about new life. That is what Easter is all about. That is what our Catholic faith is all about and just as the beauty of nature attracts us and uplifts us, don’t you think the beauty of God’s presence as we gather in God’s name should also attract us, inspire us and give us a lift! We should be concerned with the potential new life and growth that can take place here if we respond to God’s grace.
When we stop to reflect on the basic human needs we all have, I am sure we soon recognize how important the Church and specifically our parish is right here at one of the most visible points of our city. Now if we were to be more caring, more alive in the Lord, more attracting by the reverence and beauty of our liturgies, more welcoming to so many people who come here, sometimes in search of a parish to become involved in, more eager to make sure that, being faithful to Jesus Christ, we want the quality of everything we do to be worthy of who we are as Catholic Christians; don’t you think something wonderful would happen!
It is not primarily a question of doing this or that, of advertising or marketing or finding some kind of gimmick to make people come here or to make people give more money to start new programs. It is basically a question of becoming what God wants each of us to be – every person becoming a better person, every person ridding his or her life of sin, every person allowing the power of God’s grace to perform the miracle of new life; all of us being holier.
Then we will be branches attached to the true vine, Jesus. Then we will bear fruit. Then this parish will have life beyond what any of us can imagine because it will be God’s life, not ours!