Dear Friends in Christ,
On this Fifth Sunday of Easter, Christ manifests to us His enormous love from which no one or nothing can ever bring us apart, not even our greatest trials or suffering. Christ has planted His love in our hearts, we will never be abandoned or forsaken. There is no fear or discouragement for He remains with us through His Word and Sacraments until He comes again in glory.
God desires that all that we are and all that we do are fully grafted onto the Vine, the one and true lasting love, no greater love than that which is found in Christ alone. For, no one else will sacrifice His life as He did for us sinners, no one else will die on the Cross as Christ did so that all of us might be set free from sin and death and become heirs of eternal life with God in His kingdom.
Christ is the True Vine on which we need to remain planted. All the simplest deed, all merciful acts, when attached to the One True Vine reaps a fruitful harvest, thirty, sixty, a hundredfold. Only when our hearts are united to His will can the Holy Spirit fertilize the work of our hands and bear fruit for God's kingdom. We can do the most heroic feat but if it is void of the love of God and does not take root in the love of Christ, all turns futile and is brought to nothing.
So let us ask God to make us blossom on the True Vine that is Jesus Christ. Let the Master Vinegrower water us with His Divine Spirit through His Eucharistic nourishment and prune us of all our sins through His gift of reconciliation. Only then can we be transformed into fruitful branches on Christ. Only then can we be empowered as a community of Christ's true disciples, keeping His commandments to love God and one another, proclaiming the Good News of His love and salvation for all, to the glory of our Father in Heaven.
In Christ, with thankful prayers,
Rev. Jonathan Paala