Fifth Sunday Easter 2012

Scripture readings for the Mass are here.

Various reflections from St Louis University USA are here
and from the Edge of Enclosure site here 

Fr. John Predmore's Homily here

By kind permission of Valerie Sjodin 2011 image copyright 

Val's reflections on her beautiful painting linked to Scripture are here
Please link to Val's other blog Visual Blessings here and or her website here 
She has posted all the "I AM" paintings on her blog.

For most of the week I've been reflecting on this Sunday's readings.interspersed with forays into the world, the "goings on " in institutional churchery, bloggery and so on.

To invoke balance in a significantly disturbed and unbalanced world, to persevere through difficulties and try and have a healthy perspective is hard for me these days.
Jon Bloom's post at Desiring God manages to dig out a positive perspective, but I'm  very discouraged by my church these days.

For a long time there has been a deepening chasm in the heart of many people as to what the church they believe in should be, and the church the hierarchy represents.

The church is seen by many as discriminating, fearful and suspicious, marginalising and alienating people instead of embracing them.

The church seems to be taking on an Identity shaped more by contemptuous rejection and suppression than inclusion, animated by scandal and confrontation more than energising love.

If church is teacher and mother it does not seem to be embodying the best principles of either these days.

But transformation is possible..

During His life on earth Jesus went out of his way to stress the closeness of God to each and every one of us. 

All the "I Am" sayings, of which I am The True Vine is one, relate an intimacy and depth of relationship that show the possibility of fullness of life when planted in our creator God.

The idea that human life rooted and grounded in the love of God, neighbour and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit is the real essence of human meaning is not getting through to wide numbers of people any more.

It is a world where the biological and physical are increasingly divorced from spiritual life, where freedom is isolated from any recognition or sense of dependence on God, where freedom is often interpreted as freedom "from", yet not as freedom "for" anything other than self and even less so for God.

If the whole purpose of the church's mission is to see that we can do for ourselves and others when related to God that which we cannot do by ourselves alone,
it is ironic and sad that growing numbers are less confident that the church is the primary place where the fruitfulness of living in God's vine is nurtured and sustained.

Variety of my own posts below

Last year's reflections on the Gospel " I Am The True Vine and You Are The Branches" are here

2010 reflection is here and a post reflecting on spiral vines and labyrinths here

Aesop's fable of the fox and the grapes here

Life Cycle of a Grape on God's Vine from here 

Abiding In The Vineyard here 

My post on The " I Am" sayings of Jesus here 

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