5th Sunday in Easter


By Fr. Chris Valka, CSB

The Gospel this week speaks of Jesus as the vine and ourselves as the branches. Those branches that do not bear fruit, we are told, will be cut off. But even those that do, will still be pruned so that they may bear even greater fruit.

It is a timely and helpful metaphor as we enter the spring gardening season. How many us have started to clean out our gardens and start to prune our plants? If we are thinking about it, gardening can be a very helpful spiritual exercise – especially when we consider the Gospel this week.

Unless we clean and prune, our gardens will be a wild mess. Some plants dominate others; and new growth occurs upon the old. We have all seen gardens like this and plants that are never pruned; and we have seen the difference that good thought and careful pruning can make.

Last week’s bulletin starts to tell the story of our parish garden: this indeed is a season of possibilities and change here at St. Basil’s. USMC has a new President and the TV Mass is soon to leave St. Basil’s for a different location.

In the welcome package given to new parishioners last weekend, was a booklet identifying the four ministry pillars of our parish: sacramental and prayer, community, music, and social justice. You can see this on our website as we have recently reorganized the menu to reflect this understanding.

Under the surface, a fifth pillar is beginning to sprout: young family ministries. You will be hearing more about this in the coming weeks as we will all have chance to participate in this new growth.

However, the Gospel reminds us that growth is not possible without the difficult work of pruning; though sometimes, the Holy Spirit makes this a bit easier so long as we are open enough. Some of the changes are the result of parish decisions, like the emerging family ministries; and others, such as the two regarding the new President and TV Mass, are not. Nevertheless, we have to pray hard to know the difference between what we need to fight for and what we can let go of – confident that it is making room for something new.


Let us pray for such grace to be present in our parish, our families and in our lives.