This weekend eight tenth graders will all line up in the Church. Beside each of them will be their sponsor – one person chosen to literally “stand-by-them” as they are called forward to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. Some are
tall and appear older than their years; all are handsome and beautiful. Their families will sit nearby and watch as each young person answers the call to become an adult in the Church. The Episcopal Vicar will speak about the “call” each has received – it is a call to serve, to be in relationship with Christ and to make a difference in the world.
This idea of being called, singled out, invited to step forward is a theme of this liturgy. The theme actually speaks to all of us, young and old. When the parents of these adolescents brought their children to be baptized, they promised to raise their child in the practice of the faith. Indeed, called to marriage and parenthood, they were called to this role, and at the time of their assent, they had no idea what was to come!
Yet, with each call God makes, comes the courage and Grace to respond! God calls every baptized Christian to a life of service, and although the challenge to respond may be daunting, the Grace to do so is always enough. For, we celebrate that God has faith in each of us! Most of the time, God has more faith in us than we do in ourselves. So it is that in faith we can trust that God’s call to serve and live a life of dignity and love is not beyond our reach. In fact,
such is our destiny and the source of our greatest happiness in life.
This world of ours needs a lot of help! We need lots of hands and hearts to stand up and pull together to correct and improve, to search for and discover, to comfort and to lead. All this and more is needed in our world, our city, or
families and is also needed in our Church and parish.
How are you who are reading this article called to respond? Could it be in some ministry in the Parish: the food pantry, in liturgy, at the office, in education of our children, in different committees and commissions, in outreach to the
homebound and ill, in support for those in prison and their families? There is so much that is being done and needs to be undertaken.
Consider how many men and women have answered this call: to marriage, to ministry, to service in helping professions, to parenting, to military service, to priesthood, to religious life, and so on. In truth, I have never met anyone who has not been nervous, fearful and anxious in front of a major call to serve. I certainly have been. And when that happens, we recall from whence comes the call – and the One who calls us will always give us the strength and courage to respond.
Many have long been inspired by the wisdom of St. Catherine of Siena when she wrote: “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”
Fifth Sunday of Easter
May 1/2, 2021
In today’s Gospel reading on “the vine and the branches,” Jesus offers a quintessential stewardship
statement: “Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can
do nothing.” The theme of this reading is “fruitfulness.” We hear the expression “bear fruit” five
times. And “bearing fruit” is not something that the branches can do by themselves. They are extensions of the vine, Jesus, and are pruned by the gardener, God the Father, who wants them to be
fruitful and to be drawn into the unity of the Father and Son. Good stewards recognize that God’s
love, presence, gardening and pruning are gifts. Do our lives reflect a capacity to be fruitful? Do we
believe that by hearing the Word of the Lord and responding, we not only produce “good fruit,”
but abide in the very life of God?