I am the Vine you are the Branches

This Sunday’s gospel today gives us one of the most striking images of the NT. Jesus is speaking to his disciples. He says, “I am the true Vine and you are the branches, my Father is the Vine grower, remain in me as I remain in you.” But he also tells us that there are unfruitful branches. They are taken away, cut off. Note that these are attached branches. They differ from the unattached branches (vv. 4-6). Jesus said that they are “in me,” but they have a problem: they bear no fruit.

 The unfruitful branches did become attached to Christ. They did have some organic relationship to Him. There was a time, a point, when they began to bud and sprout. They even grew into branches. They… listened to Jesus and the gospel, opened their ears, made a profession, were baptized, seem capable of bearing fruit, appeared to be fruitful branches.

The branches are unfruitful. They are “in” the vine, a part of it, but they simply bear no fruit. What does this mean? An unfruitful branch does not relate enough to Christ; they do not draw enough nourishment from Him, to draw life, to bear fruit, to continue in the Vine. Unfruitful branches are not genuine enough to bear fruit. Their profession is… more profession than possession, more pretending than being, more deception than truth, more counterfeit than real. Unfruitful branches become apostate and deserters – men and women who abandon the faith.

 God will “cut off” the unfruitful branches. The word  cut off means to take away and to remove. In relation to the vine, the branch is pruned removed, and taken away. This is a severe warning to every branch, “in” the vine, to make sure his profession is genuine enough to bear fruit.

 Scripture says at least two things about the judgment of unfruitful branches that sin. First, the unfruitful branches that sin are cut off and removed from the Vine and destroyed by fire. Secondly, the unfruitful branches that sin are chastened and disciplined by being cut off and removed through spiritual death.

The point must be heeded; for Scripture gives severe warnings to believers, that is, to the branches “in’ the Vine. The branches must make sure they are bearing fruit or else face severe judgment.

Jesus the Good Shepherd

This weekend Gospel reading speaks about Jesus as the “Good Shepherd”. There are two reasons why Jesus is called the Good Shepherd.

1. Jesus is called the “Good Shepherd” because He gave and sacrificed His life for the sheep.

2. Jesus is called the “Good Shepherd” because He is not a hired or employed shepherd. Jesus is the shepherd by birth. He was born to be the shepherd with all the Shepherd’s rights. The sheep are His and He is the sheep’s. The hired shepherd was just a man passing through who was temporary help. He was a man hired to look after the sheep until the real shepherd came along. He was not the true, permanent shepherd. He was a false, unfaithful and irresponsible shepherd. His interest was not a calling but, a job and profession, money and comfort, acceptance and recognition, position and prestige, authority and esteem.

The false, unfaithful, and irresponsible shepherd has little if any sense of responsibility for the sheep. He seeks to benefit self, not the sheep. He is the shepherd for what he can get out of it, not to serve and care for the sheep. His primary interest is not the sheep but job security: wages and benefits, position and prestige, money and comfort. He values himself much more than the sheep. He seeks His own things and not the things of others. He has not natural care for the state of the sheep. He has no interest in seeking the lost sheep, lest his life be threatened “in the open country.”

The proof that Jesus is the “Good Shepherd.” There are four proofs.

1. Jesus knows His sheep, and they know Him. There is an intimate knowledge between Jesus and His sheep. He knows them, their lives, their being, their all. He knows them by name, individually and personally, in all their joy and blessing, in all their trials and sorrows, in all their wanderings and stumbling’s, in all their need and lack.

2. Jesus knows the Father, the Owner of the sheep. The question naturally arises, how well does He know Him? one thing is of critical importance. When Jesus claims to know the FatherHe does not mean that He knows God in the same sense as the other men know Him.

3. Jesus will die for the sheep. He was the “Good Shepherd,” not a bad shepherd; therefore, He would face the enemy of the sheep. He would not run away from His calling and purpose. He would stand and fight the enemy as the Good Shepherd was sent to do.

4. Jesus worked to enlarge the fold, “the sheep pen.” Note the “other sheep” was a reference to worldwide evangelization. It referred to all believers who were not standing there with Him. It included all countries and generations. It foresaw every believer of all time.

The future sheep were to become sheep of His by “listening to His voice.” There is to be one flock, not two flocks. Every believer becomes a part of the Good Shepherd’s flock.

St. Valentine Parish Council Meeting Minutes – Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Attending:  Fr. Socorro, Jeff Kramer, Ron Fron, Mary Anthony, Lisa Alexander, Fr. Henry, Joe Kelly, Tony Janisse, Walt Bankowski, Mike Nowak, Rosemary Fox

Meeting was opened at 7:30 PM with a prayer from Mary Anthony

New Business

Linda Thompson provided feedback from a forum they attended at OLGC concerning the Catholic Women Bible Study called “Walking with Purpose”.  

· There are 22 weekly lessons to study at home and a monthly meeting (with coffee) for discussion.

· Will need small space for the meeting and advertising (and perhaps child care)

Parish Council agreed to support

Old Business

Fundraising events

No decision was made on a future event.  Many ideas were discussed.  More ideas/discussion on events are needed

Commission Reports

 Pastoral Update: Fr. Socorro

Father will be in India April 9th to May 8th

 Pastoral Update: Fr. Henry

During the Easter Vigil, 9 people will be receiving sacraments

 Christian Service: Rosemary Fox

· The seven members of the committee have completed their work for this year.

· The Lenten Soup Supper at St. Valentine went well.

The Right to Life baby shower was a good event


· The Receiving of the Cup will return for Easter

Funding for the LED lights project was approved by Men’s Club.  They should be ready for Easter.

 Meeting was closed at 9:10 PM with a prayer from Fr. Henry

 Next Meeting is April 17, 2018 – 7:30 PM

Stewardship Thoughts

The themes linked in today’s Scripture readings call for us to avoid sin by following the Lord’s directives, to repent, and to seek forgiveness. St. Peter, in the Acts of the Apostles, relates the evil of Christ’s passion and death, and that through repentance and conversion, our sins be wiped away. St. John, in his First Letter, reminds us that Jesus is an offering for our sins. In St. Luke’s Gospel, Jesus appears to His disciples after His Resurrection while two of them recount their encounter with Jesus on the road to Emmaus. They finally recognize Him in the breaking of the bread. The Church has long taught that partaking of the Eucharist forgives lesser sins. Likewise, participating in the sacrament of Reconciliation for the forgiveness of sins opens us to Christ’s grace, bringing us closer to Him, giving us peace in our lives. This week, go to confession and receive Holy Communion to draw into union with Christ.