It never ceases to amaze me how simple - but also profound - the Lord’s teachings are. The metaphor He uses in today’s Gospel - “I am the vine, you are the branches” - expresses so simply one of those profound truths: apart from Him we can do nothing. Just as a branch cut off from the vine ceases to produce grapes, so if we are cut off from God, we eventually will wither and die. This truth can be seen in our culture as well. The further our society moves away from its Christian principles - in fact, a denial of those Christian principles - the more assured it is that the fruits will cease. As an example, consider how we care for the sick. The first hospitals were founded by Catholics. This was done because of the teachings of Christ, Who instructed us to care for the sick. Is it any surprise that the attempt to make caring for the sick into “health care” absent any reference to the teachings of the Lord has resulted in the killing of the unborn and, increasingly, the killing of the elderly? We have cut ourselves off from the vine, and the branch is dying. Consider as well the way we Americans use our financial resources. Americans (including Catholics) spend as much money on their pets as they contribute to the Church. And they spend twice as much on gambling! The reform of our country begins with the reform of the Church. And the reform of the Church begins with the reform of you and me. It begins in our families, in our parish, and in our community. It is not sufficient for us to simply “go along with the culture.” The culture is clearly separating itself from the Vine. We must make the conscious effort to be united to Christ, the Vine. And if we, the branches, are closely connected to Christ the Vine, there will be fruit.
There is no better way to remain united to Our Lord than by the worthy reception of the Holy Eucharist. We give thanks to God for the young children who are receiving their First Holy Communion today (Sunday). May they (and we!) always remain close to our Savior!
May God bless you!
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