3rd May - Fifth Sunday of Easter (B)
Sunday Mass Readings
May is Mary’s Month....
A leaflet reflecting on the significance of honouring our Lady in a special way during May can be found at the back of Church or downloaded here.
Today (3rd May) is also the Feast of Our Lady, Queen of Poland.
Bogurodzica dziewica, Bogiem slawiena Maryja,
U twego syna Gospodzina Matko zwolena, Maryja!
Zyszczy nam, spusci nam. Kyrie eleison!
Virgin, Mother of God, God-famed Mary!
Ask Thy Son, our Lord, God-named Mary,
To have mercy upon us ! Kyrie eleison!
Holy Week/Easter Photo Gallery
Canon Luke writes . . .
The readings for the Fifth Sunday of Easter discourage Christians from a maverick independence; we are not called to operate alone, but in close connection with Christ "the vine," never being parted from him. Because Christ identifies himself with his Church (Acts 9:4), the teaching about the vine has deep implications for our relationship with Christ's body.
When commenting on today’s gospel Pope Benedict XVI used these striking words: In the parable of the vine, Jesus does not say: “You are the vine”, but: “I am the vine, you are the branches” (John 15:5). In other words: “As the branches are joined to the vine, so you belong to me! But inasmuch as you belong to me, you also belong to one another.” Such is the Church, this communion of life with Jesus Christ and for one another, a communion that is rooted in baptism and is deepened and given more and more vitality in the Eucharist. “I am the true vine” actually means: “I am you and you are I” – an unprecedented identification of the Lord with us, with his Church. So many are caught in a ‘Jesus and me’ mentality, which ignores the reality of the Church as the universal sacrament of salvation, words from the Second Vatican Council that Pope Benedict also quoted.
Jesus clearly tells us that separated from him we can do nothing. Each of us has to decide whether or not we wish to remain united to the life-giving Vine, Jesus himself. Everyone of us is faced with this choice; the Lord reminds us how much is at stake as He continues his parable: ‘If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned’ (John 15:6).
The image of the vine is also a sign of hope and confidence. Christ himself came into this world through his incarnation, to be our root. Whatever hardship or drought may befall us, He is the source that offers us the water of life that feeds and strengthens us. He takes upon himself our sins, anxieties and sufferings and purifies and transforms us, in a way that is ultimately mysterious, into fruitful branches. In times of hardship we can sometimes feel as if we are in the wine-press, like grapes being crushed; but we are reminded that if we are joined to Christ we become mature wine. God can transform into love even the burdensome and oppressive aspects of our lives. What is crucial is that we ‘abide’ in Christ, the vine.
St John constantly uses the word ‘abide’ [‘remain’] in this passage. This abiding in Christ’ characterizes the whole of the parable. In our era of restlessness and lack of commitment, when so many people lose their way and their grounding, when loving fidelity has become so fragile and short-lived, the risen Lord offers us a place of refuge, a place of light, hope and confidence, a place of rest and security. When drought and death loom over us the branches, then in Christ we find future, life and joy. In him we always find forgiveness and the opportunity to begin again, to be transformed as we are drawn into his love.
To abide in Christ, means to abide in the Church as well; the whole communion of the faithful is grafted into the vine, into Christ. In Christ we belong together. Within this communion He supports us, and at the same time all the members support one another. We are called to stand firm together against the storms of life and offer one another protection. Those who believe are never alone. We do not believe alone, we believe with the whole Church of all times and places, with the Church in heaven and the Church on earth.
Over the next few weekends we will share the joy of almost 70 children of the parish receiving our Lord for the first time in Holy Communion; please pray for them that they may always remain close to Christ our Vine, and in communion with his Church. Please pray for them.
"...JESUS CHRIST, THE BEGINNING AND THE END...
ALL TIME BELONGS TO HIM... AND ALL THE AGES..."
These words on the doors of the Church porch express perfectly the purpose of our parish. We are
a community centred round the Lord Jesus.
Saint Francis' Parish in the heart of Maidstone was founded in 1859 and since then has been the heart of the Catholic community in the Maidstone area. From it was founded the parishes of Saint Thomas More, West Malling; Holy Family, Park Wood; and Saint Peter's Bearsted. In addition to the mother church there are Mass Centres at St Luke's, Preston Hall, and at St Mary's Anglican Church at Nettlestead.
Today the faith which inspired its foundation almost 150 years ago continues to find its expression in a lively community bringing together people of many races all united by their love of God. It is this love which calls us all to work together to build up our community and to care for all in need.
I would like to welcome all who visit our website and hope you share something of our vision for the future of the church and parish.
Canon Luke - Parish Priest
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