Last week I spoke and wrote about the plight of India at the moment, due to the Pandemic. Watching the News things seem to be continuing to deteriorate there while we in the UK seem to be coming out of the other side of the latest Lockdown. We thank God that our country is recovering but need to remember our brothers and sisters elsewhere. As I also mentioned last week, a month-long marathon of prayer has been called by Pope Francis, with a special Liturgy to be used at the 30 Marian shrines around the world. We are encouraged to join in I have put a link for the Liturgy in the footnotes of this reflection.1 The first Marian Shrine to be used will be in Walsingham in Norfolk; it will be broadcast live on EWTN on 1st May at 6pm. If you do not have access to the internet or to satellite TV to take part in this, please set aside some time every day during May to say the Rosary and pray for an end to this Pandemic.

This call to action is very much in the Spirit of our readings today. Today we are called to be in union with Christ by serving each other. We are reminded that we cannot do things under our own power, because we need to stay attached to Christ the true Vine.

In St John’s Gospel, Jesus, speaking at The Last Supper, tells us to stay connected to Him, the true Vine. He says that unless we stay connected to Him then we will be unable to bear fruit. This is a reminder for me to ensure that before I make a decision on any new venture or request; or before I think of who to invite to assist me with anything which I hope will bear fruit; that I need to spend some time in prayer, ensuring that I allow God into my decision-making process. This does not have to be a lengthy process; but it does have to be a time of checking that I am still connected to the Vine.

In our first reading we hear that there was still some distrust of Paul from elements of the fledgling Christian Community. It was Barnabas; a name which means ‘Son of encouragement’; who looked out for Paul and encouraged the others to trust him. Barnabas told the others how Paul had changed since he met Jesus and how he had moved from persecuting them to actively preaching the name of Jesus. How do we encourage those around us to live in our Community? Would others recognise that we are still a Community despite the Pandemic?

In our second reading, we are told by St John that “our love is not to be just words or mere talk, but something real and active; only by this can we be certain that we are the children of the truth and be able to quieten our conscience in his presence.” In relation to the Pandemic, how can we quieten our conscience about the suffering if we do not join in the request from our Pope to pray for those in peril?

By staying connected to Jesus we live in union with Him and the Church. By sharing in His Holy Eucharist, we become a Community through our act of Communion. Jesus wants us to be one body in union with Him, it is only by staying in union with Jesus that we will bear fruit.

Life can be very busy at the moment, sometimes it feels like we are trying to cram more things in because technology allows us to. The essence from today’s readings is that unless we remain in union with Christ and allow that union to influence how we put our faith into action then we risk being cut off from the vine. This means making time for Jesus, maintaining our relationship through whatever way we feel called to do so. Make time for the Sacraments, make time for prayer. Remembering the words of Jesus from today’s Gospel “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask what you will and you shall get it. It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit, and then you shall be my disciples.”

How will we respond when we hear the call at the end of Mass to “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life”?

Please keep in your prayers this week

  • All those who are sick, all those who care for them and all Key workers who are striving to keep us safe.
  • Those who are organising and attending the Let it Be course on Monday.
  • All of those preparing to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation this Pentecost, that they will prepare themselves diligently to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
  • The repose of the soul of Friday Ogbuka, who died on Easter Monday and the comfort and welfare of his family.
  • Prayer Marathon to end the Pandemic.

Deacon Tony Darroch, 1st May 2021.

SHRINE LIST AND DAILY PRAYER INTENTIONS

Basilica Vaticana (Madonna del Soccorso) The Vatican Europe. For the entire world wounded by this pandemic

1 Our Lady of Walsingham, England. For all the deceased.

2 Jesus the Saviour and Mother Mary (Elele) Nigeria. For all those who have not been able to say goodbye to their deceased loved ones.

3 Our Lady of Częstochowa, Poland. For all those infected with the corona virus and all the sick.

4 Basilica of the Annunciation (in Nazareth) Israel. For all expectant women and their unborn babies.

5 Blessed Virgin of the Rosary (in Namyang), South Korea. For all children and adolescents.

6 Our Lady Aparecida (San Paolo), Brazil. For all young people.

7 Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage (Antipolo) Philippines. For all families.

8 Our Lady of Luján, Argentina. For all communication workers.

9 Holy House of Loreto, Italy. For all seniors.

10 Our Lady of Knock, Ireland. For all people with disabilities.

11 The Virgin of the Poor (Banneux), Belgium. For all the poor, the homeless, and the economically distressed.

12 Our Lady of Africa (Algiers) Algeria. For all people who live alone and those who have lost hope.

13 Our Lady of the Rosary, (Fatima), Portugal. For all prisoners

14 Our Lady of Health (Vailankanni) India. For all scientists and medical research institutions.

15 Our Lady Queen of Peace (Medjugorje) Bosnia. For all migrants.

16 Saint Mary’s Cathedral (Sydney), Australia. For all victims of violence and human trafficking.

17 Immaculate Conception, (Washington, D.C.) USA. For all world leaders and for all heads of international organisations.

18 Our Lady of Lourdes, France. For all doctors and nurses.

19 Mother Mary’s House – Meryem Ana Evi (Ephesus) Turkey. For all people at war and for world peace.

20 Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Cobre, Cuba. For all pharmacists and health care personnel.

21 Our Lady of Nagasaki, Japan. For all social workers.

22 Nuestra Señora de Montserrat, Spain. For all volunteers.

23 Notre Dame du Cap (Trois Rivières), Canada. For all law enforcement and military personnel and for all firefighters.

24 To be confirmed To be confirmed. For all those who provide essential services.

25 Basilica of the Blessed Virgin of Ta’ Pinu, Malta. For all teachers, students and educators.

26 Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, Mexico. For all workers and entrepreneurs.

27 Mother of God (Zarvanytsia), Ukraine. For all the unemployed.

28 Black Madonna of Altötting, Germany . For the Holy Father, bishops, priests, and deacons.

29 Our Lady of Lebanon (Harissa), Lebanon. For all consecrated men and women.

30 Blessed Virgin of the Holy Rosary of Pompeii, Italy. For the Church.

31 Vatican Gardens, The Vatican. For the end of the pandemic and the resumption of our social and economic life.

1 Liturgy for Month of prayer for the Pandemic available from. – Sussidio Rosario 2021 Inglese.pdf (pcpne.va) – accessed 1st May 2021.