May 6th, 2012 – Fifth Sunday of Easter – Year B

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“I am the true vine, you are the branches
Whoever abides in me and I in them
Bears much fruit”

Dear Friends

Some years ago, Mother Teresa was asked by a reporter , “What is your biggest problem?” Without a moment of hesitation, Mother Teresa answered with one word: “Professionalism.” She said: “Here are these servants of Jesus who care for the poorest of the poor. I have one who just went off and came back with her medical degree. Others have come back with registered nurse degrees. Another with a master’s in social work… and when they came back with their degrees… their first question always is, ‘Where is my office?’ Then she said, ‘You know what I do? I send them over to the House of the Dying where they simply hold the hands of dying people for six months and after that, they’re ready to be servants again.’ This was the greatness of Mother Teresa her unflinching commitment to stay connected to Christ’s Servant Mentality.

Mother Teresa of Kolkata would never miss her daily Eucharist. After long hours of hard work, she was far from exhausted. She radiated light and joy through her smile. Where did her energy come from? She said; “We cannot separate our lives from the Eucharist; the moment we do, something breaks. People ask, ‘Where do the sisters get the joy and energy to do what they are doing?’ The Eucharist involves more than just receiving; it also involves satisfying the hunger of Christ. He says: “Come to Me.” He is hungry for souls.”

These examples answer to some extent our question, why should we go to church? The power of the sacrament to sanctify and the mystery of the Church to unite are enormous. The age-old saying: united we stand, divided we fall, is very true. As the branches cannot have life cut off from the vine, so also we Christians will not have life separated from the Church and her Sacraments. The Church is not to be identified with a huge structure or a mansion built for worship. It is only a space to come together. The Church is the faithful united in faith and love. Growth of the Church is not in the number of buildings we erect with a huge cross or crucifix but it is in the firmer foundations we build in the faith of Jesus and in the love of our fellow beings. Our faith is expressed through our words and actions. We can express our love for the people only if we can be present to them. As St John puts it: “His commandment is that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and that we love one another as he commanded us.”(1 John 3:23). If the presence and the profession of faith are the starting point for our dynamic faith, how much do we require our Church If we have to grow in our Christian faith and charity we will have to begin with the Church and be closely associated with it. As St Paul going to meet his fellow apostles in Jerusalem to begin his Christian witness, becomes a superstar in the expansion of the mission, let us pray that the Lord may empower us through the Eucharist to be powerful witnesses of his love and Kingdom.