I have a router which I often carry with me. This is I do, so that I am always connected, above all with those in my community and when they are close to me are also connected. Once away from the close range from me, they are not connected and lost. This is what, Wi-Fi does, when in range we are connected and can do much in the electronic world.
Look at parasites, they are the ones who are able to survive only because they are firmly rooted in something or plants from where they get their energy and source to life. They eventually destroy the source on many occasion. They do this to survive and live for themselves only.
The fifth Sunday of Easter, Jesus is giving us another means to be His disciples and to gain as much from Him (as we heard last Sunday the same through His being the Good Shepherd). In the gospel of ‘I Am the True Vine’, Jesus is telling us, His followers, I give you a program of Christian life. It is so beautifully explained in the reading:
– Be attached or connected to the direct source. That is to Him.
– Draw from Him all the strength and values of life.
– That we will need spiritual pruning now and then to grow well. To listen to our conscience and to act on it.
– Thus doing this, what you receive from the Vine will help you to produce good fruit for yourself and others.
– Finally in doing this, one will be fully alive and thus give glory to God.
What a contrast to the Parasites: they are concerned only about immediate self-gratification which later on in its lifespan, will not survive. Whereas, the wine is nothing but for others, giving of themselves of what they received being attached to the Vine… and bring joy to all.
– Be attached
– Be ready to be pruned, thus
– Be strengthened from the Lord, who is the true source, which will make us to
– Be resourceful, so as to
– Be productive for others and for the Kingdom of God.
By this, one will be known as Jesus’ disciples. And as the Lord, Himself assures us that we will be closely attached to God and this will help us to ‘ask whatever you will and it shall be done for you’.
I am reminded of a story of a young girl who was so closely attached to the Vine, became a true disciple of Jesus and today is an example of giving glory to God.
Blessed Imelda, the Patron saint of First Communicants:
Blessed Imelda Lambertini had a remarkable experience of this love. She lived in Bologna, Italy, in the 1300s. She wanted to be a nun from the time she was a little girl and she joined the Dominican Convent at the age of nine, to better prepare herself for the day when she would take the habit. Her greatest desire was to receive Holy Communion, but in those days you had to be at least twelve-years- old to do so. Imelda begged for an exception to the rule, but the chaplain refused. She kept praying for special permission. Her prayers were miraculously answered on the Feast of the Ascension in 1333. After Mass, she stayed in her place in the chapel, where one of the nuns was putting away the sacred vessels. Suddenly, the nun heard a noise and turned towards Imelda. Hovering in midair in front of Imelda as she knelt in prayer was a sacred host, the Blessed Eucharist, shining with all glory and splendor.
As Imelda prayed, a consecrated host was seen suspended in the air above her head. Quickly understanding God’s will for the child to receive, the convent chaplain took the Eucharist and gave Imelda her First Holy Communion on the spot.
As she took Jesus into her heart, Imelda entered into a state of ecstatic prayer. The child remained kneeling as the nuns left chapel to allow her more time to pray. When they returned for her, they found her just as they had left her, but her body was lifeless.
After receiving Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, Imelda, proving her early words to be prophetic, died of pure love and joy.
The feast day of Blessed Imelda Lambertini is celebrated on May 12th. She is the patroness of First Communicants and of making a holy, fervent First Communion. Her purity of heart is a beautiful reminder that, to be truly happy, we must love and desire God above all things.
She was truly in love with Jesus, attached to Him and produced good fruits within Herself and now a model for us.
The Eucharist, that we celebrate, is that source, that vine, that strength we receive to always be close and connected to Jesus. He gives us all His strength and power through His Body and Blood. He will constantly prune us so that we can produce good fruits. Let us receive Him today, so that we will always glorify God and build the Kingdom of God.
Stay connected to Jesus and we will always be fruitful.
Fr. Franco Pereira, S.D.B.