Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Fifth Sunday of Eastertide

'I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me, and I in them bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing."   These words are from the Gospel of John for the 5th Sunday in Eastertide.  So what does Jesus mean when he says this to His disciples?  Well as so often Jesus is speaking in agri-speak; he is using images from the rural/fishing environment of most of his disciples; in this case that of the vineyard.  As anyone knows if they have tried to grow a vine or fruit trees or roses it is essential to keep an eye on how the branches and shoots are growing and whether they are becoming straggly using up energy from the plant or if the shoots are showing signs of fruit or flower buds.  This is the image Jesus uses to refer to his disciples and the wider group of his followers.  He is the vine, the source of nourishment for all those who profess his way of life and this strengthens our faith and gives us the strength to put into practice what he is teaching us. The branches exist to draw life from the vine so as to bear fruit.

"The fruit referred to in this saying is the holiness of a life made fruitful by union with Christ. When we believe in Jesus Christ, partake of his mysteries, and keep his commandments, the Saviour himself comes to love, in us, his Father and his brethren, our Father and our brethren. His person becomes, through the Spirit, the living and interior rule of our activity. 'This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Failing to do so they are cut away, thrown out, only good as firewood;  "If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned." 

So that we may live as fruitful branches in intimate union with Christ, the true vine, he has given us the Church, his true body in the world. "The mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit is brought to completion in the Church, which is the Body of Christ and the temple of the Holy Spirit. This joint mission henceforth brings Christ's faithful to share in His communion with the Father in the Holy Spirit. The Spirit prepares men and women and goes out to them with his grace, in order to draw them to Christ who in turn brings us to the Father. The Spirit manifests the risen Lord to them, recalls his word to them and opens their minds to the understanding of his Death and Resurrection.  ‘And he opens their minds to understand the gospel.’ He makes present the mystery of Christ, supremely in the Eucharist, in order to reconcile them, to bring them into communion with God, that they may 'bear much fruit.'

The Church is not a way to Christ, as one choice among others, but the way to Christ. "Thus the Church's mission is not an addition to that of Christ and the Holy Spirit, but is its sacrament: in her whole being and in all her members, the Church is sent to announce, bear witness, make present, and spread the mystery of the communion of the Holy Trinity." (CCC 738)  As a Church we are in some mystical union made a part of that Trinity.  Seek the opportunity for daily participation in the liturgy; draw from the Eucharistic sacrifice the life-blood of Christ the vine that you may bear fruit that will last: heart, mind, soul and strength aflame with God's love unto life eternal! Let us pray; we "meet Christ in the liturgy" (collect for 5th Sunday of Eastertide).

Fr Michael Manning, O.Carm.

Fr Michael Manning, O.Carm with the Prior General of the Order and Matt Betts, Development Manager

Monday, 4 May 2015

Credit and Debit cards now accepted

The National Shrine of Saint Jude are very pleased to announce that we can now accept credit or debit card payments for your donations and purchases.

If you wish to pay your donation (or part thereof) by credit or debit card, please call the Shrine on 01795 539214. Please note that credit card payments incur a 2% processing charge. There is no extra charge for debit cards.

We accept the following cards: