May 2, 2021 - Fifth Sunday of Easter
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
“Calendar spring” started in March, but the change to warmer weather is perceived now with the visible signs of spring flowers, trees blooming, and grass starting to grow. We could say it is all fruit of the Resurrection of Jesus, that brings new life to every aspect of our lives. An Easter lily, is one of the symbols of the resurrection, dressed in a “white cloth” as was Christ in the tomb. It is a beautiful feeling to perceive spring as a sign of resurrection, the newness of life coming from the darkness of the soil as if it was a tomb. There is a beauty in the newness of life, and Christ makes it eternal, unending. By faith in Christ we acquire rights to that eternal spring. Like that grain of wheat from the parable, that sown to the ground is lost to itself, but it comes back to life in multiple seeds with great fruitfulness and infinite perspective of becoming countless.
In the parable of this Sunday, Jesus compares himself to the vine and us to the branches growing out of it. The branches totally depend on all life and nourishment from the vine, and they have to stay connected to the stem of the vine which is prepared to power all necessary growth and fruitfulness of this vine. The vine needs to be pruned to produce good fruits, and the new branch by itself cannot produce the fruits without total dependence on the old stem of the vine. It is amazing to see that process of cutting the extra brunches from the vine, which were there previous year to carry the fruits. It is amazing to see how much of those brunches is cut off, but it is necessary in order to keep the fruitfulness of the vine. We can see it by visiting the vineyards in the east of Long Island.
The branch can’t live without the stem of the vine and so without Christ, there is no resurrection, without Christ there is no eternal life, without Christ life ends in the tomb. We can’t live without Jesus. Lord, give us that gift of eternal life, give us the blessings of friendship with You, that will carry us to eternal life with you. We want to be inserted in you, we need your nourishment and love, we need your mercy and healing. Help us to bring good fruits of our lives by serving you and others.
Last Sunday of May and first Sunday of June we will have children receive their First Communion. They will be invited to nourish themselves for eternal life, to receive the abundance of blessings and fullness of happiness from Jesus.
This year we will have 99 children and youth receive their First Communion, at four Sunday Masses at 11:00 am in English and 3:00pm in Spanish. On Sundays June 20th and 27th at the 11:00am we will have Confirmations for our youth. Let’s keep them all in prayer, may they open their hearts to the love of Christ in his Sacramental coming to them.
We congratulate them for entering the new stage of their lives of particular closeness to Christ through Holy Communion and Confirmation. I am always amazed when the little children of preschool age desire to receive Communion based on their observance of their parents and siblings receiving it. Lord give us that hunger for you always, and bless the parents of those children with a strong faith and perseverance in perusing the gift of Christ. There is no happiness without Christ. With Christ there is the abundance of happiness and fullness of joy. Lord, lead all the families of our parish to that fullness of joy and happiness with you. Let’s treasure and grow in intimate friendship with Jesus. Let’s bring good fruits of service and love to God and to others.
God bless everyone!!! God bless you always!!!