5th SUNDAY of Easter
29 April 2018, •• Acts 9:26-31 •• Psalm 22 •• 1 John 3:18-24 •• + John 15:1-8 ••
Title: “Connectivity is fragile.”
[__01__] Connectivity is fragile, a fragile reality or phenomenon, difficult to maintain.
Connectivity is fragile, sometimes also mobile. Regarding the phone, we move toward a window or away from a wall – just a short distance, we receive a better (or worse) signal. Re. this microphone, moving it 6 millimeters away from me, the audio signal may be better or worse.
Connectivity is fragile.
This is true with regard to the vine and the branches of Jesus today. There is a fragile connectivity between the vine and branches, and the fruit on the vine.
[__02__] We know this technically – technologically – and we experience it in our relationships. Sometimes, it is hard to remain connected to people.
And, we are called by love of God and love of neighbor to seek connections, but also to discern where the real connections, the true connections are. Not every geographical place on the earth’s surface offers an equally clear satellite signal. Not every choice we make – even choices made with a loving intention will produce connectivity.
We are called to seek connectivity of a real signal and not just the noise of productivity.
[The vine and the branches Gospel is not about a server, but about Jesus as servant and 24 x 7 connectivity. But, before there is productivity, we are called to connectivity.]
[__03__] On Friday, April 27, at Washington Elementary School – in our neighborhood down the street at Tory Corner – there was a remembrance/memorial for 2 of our parishioners.
1st. Governor Brendan Byrne, governor New Jersey from 1974-1982 and 2nd. Mrs. Patricia Villarosa, of Lourdes parish and 1st grade teacher at Washington School until she recently passed away.
Each was being honored by the planting of trees at Washington Elementary, one in memory of Patty; one for Gov. Byrne.
Trees remind us of roots, of connections, connections to each other.
And, the superintendent of West Orange schools, Jeffrey Rutzky, pointed out that the trees, will mark times for the students so that when they return in 10, 20, 50 years, of the passage of time and the vibrant and living memory of Mrs. Villarosa and of Governor Byrne, in their branches, leaves, beauty, strength.
I could not help but think, being in the presence of these Washington Elementary young people that they were – truly – the ones being planted, nurtured, receiving roots, growing strong.
Yes, the trees are to be cared for but so are the children and so are we also to be cared for and loved by God and by each other.
These children were believed in by Governor Byrne and by Patty Villarosa in every moment she spent with them, and that we are also called to care for these children and for each other. Connectivity is fragile.
[__04__] The children are going to grow up and become as strong as trees. And, we are called to see both the forest and trees in our lives, to see them as individuals and to see them as a community as family.
Jesus also proclaimed that his disciples were not just individual branches, but a community of branches. Jesus also saw both the forest and the trees.
Governor Byrne is remembered for having protected a forest – the Pine Barrens State Forest – in southern New Jersey. It is appropriate to plant a tree – and many trees in his honor and in Patty’s honor, because of their care for life and lives in our community and in our state. Connectivity is fragile.
[__05__] When we plant vines, we observe that these vines – with their stems and tendrils – grow
everywhere and even to overgrow. They grow on the walls, up the walls, inside the walls, under the masonry, on fences, et cetera et cetera.
Check out the Lourdes Grotto of Blessed Mother/Mary network of green + vines. We are Ivy League!
But, Jesus is calling us not only to productivity but also to connectivity.
with God and neighbor.
One example of this is the way that we are called to be charitable.
[__06__] CHARITY is our highest ideal. Everyone of every income level – or wealth - is called to be charitable. Everyone of every age and expertise is called to be charitable.
In both the way that we give away material things or that we give away our mind or our energy.
On the other hand, if CHARITY is not connected to the gospel, we can run the risk of being too easy or too easygoing. (Reference: Parochial & Plain Sermons, Book II, S. 23, “Tolerance of Religious Error”)
Parents – sometimes – say NO to their children. And, that is an act of love, charity. That’s charity.
Or if someone asks me to share my perspective or knowledge, sometimes, I might say too much.
We have all said too much at times.
Sometimes, saying less is a gift. Less is more.
And, in this, I’m citing Jesus’ example of being pruned, cut back, purified, simplified.
He is the vine we are the branches. “Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit.” (John 15:5) [__fin__]