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Thursday, 29 April 2021 08:25

Celebrating At Home - Fifth Sunday of Easter

Jesus, true vine bearing fruit in us

We are still on the Easter journey. After the three day roller-coaster of emotions - from Jesus’ supper with his disciples, through trial and crucifixion, to the wonder of the women at the empty tomb - we now prepare ourselves to celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

During these fifty days, our journey is steadied and enlightened by the words of the First Letter of St John. It has a central message made clear in today’s reading: we are asked to believe in Jesus and love one another. We are then assured that we are not alone in this challenge: “We know that he lives in us by the Spirit that he has given us.”

The poet Gerard Manley Hopkins echoes this in As Kingfishers Catch Fire:

“For Christ plays in ten thousand places, Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his.”

This idea of Christ living within us is explored in today’s Gospel where Jesus likens himself to the “true vine.” He tells us: “Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty.”

Through the gifts of the Holy Spirit we can hold Christ within us, not only in our thoughts, our ideas, our actions, but deep within ourselves, in our souls and in our hearts. We are helped by prayer and by reflecting on the words of scripture, maybe meditating on the images, or by spending time with the phrases that we particularly notice. Or we can sit still and simply open our hearts and listen. Jesus says: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you …”

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Celebrating at Home is a Liturgy of the Word centred around the Gospel reading for each Sunday. It includes a reflection on the Gospel and prayers.

It can be used personally or with your family. Parts for all to pray are given in bold print and all the other parts can be shared among those present.

We hope that Celebrating at Home will be a source of nourishment and strength for all who use it.

In the room you decide to use for this prayer you could have a lighted candle, a crucifix and the Bible. These symbols help keep us mindful of the sacredness of our time of prayer and can help us feel connected with our local worshipping communities.

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