Be not afraid!
â€œI am the vine, and you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me.â€
So far in Lent we have focused on the change and reform necessary in our lives. We have been focusing on the various Lenten disciplines, the means and methods by which we achieve conversion, change and reform. These disciplines help us become more ardent and faithful livers of Jesusâ€™s gospel way.
The subjects of fasting, sacrifice or giving, and study have been covered thus far. Next week we resume with the consideration of prayer and proclamation.
Our Holy Church pauses today to celebrate. We sense it because today we hear the Gloria and the Alleluia. Lenten purple is put away for this moment and is replaced by joyous white.
We celebrate because this Sunday, one-hundred and twenty-four years ago, a group of oppressed immigrants, people treated disrespectfully by oppressors in their home countries, right here in the United States, and even by their church, people thought little of by their neighbors, took the lessons learned from the Lenten disciplines they faithfully practiced and put them to action.Â
This Sunday what they learned from fasting, sacrifice, study, prayer, and the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus, humanityâ€™s Emancipator, bore fruit. They found themselves the branches of the trueÂ VineÂ â€“ alive in Christ. They found themselves freed of the dead old branch pruned away because of its corruption, pruned away because it heededÂ deceitful spirits and followedÂ men with seared consciences.
These heroic people stood on the side of Jesus and just as proclaimed in Wisdom, He, the Just One, confronted their oppressors with great confidence. Those oppressors stood there in awe and they still do today.
As with every true Christian. from the time of the Acts Church. those faith filled immigrant heroes stood up without fear. They heard Jesus say, Fear not little flock. They inherited and have passed on to us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
We have Christ Jesus. We are His branches. His Father strengthens us and fills us with His good grace. We can face any fear and no longer be debilitated by it. The tender love of God has freed us from terror, from being held down, and from slavery to the opinions of those who do not know the Lord. A disciplined life strengthens us for this. Faithful trust is the fruit of the reform necessary in our lives and the world. Today we celebrate those who trusted and say with them: In You O Lord I place my trust. BoÅ¼e, do Ciebie siÄ™ uciekam!