Linda Gill will read the Second Reading in our Cathedral in Reno Nevada on the Fifth Sunday of Easter. as she stands in front of a portrait of St. Peter and St. Paul, along with St. John and the Eucharist:
When Linda finishes reading Father will deliver his homily from the Last Supper Discourse, “My Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.”
Looking up at the mural behind Father Francisco, should remind us of St. Paul’s warning from Romans 11:17-24. It should also remind us that the Conservative Jewish congregation in town is Temple Emanuel, just four miles from our Cathedral. That is the Emanuel/God is with us that we recognize in the nativity. For God to be with us there must be an “us,” a faith community. Remember the warning of the wild olive.
St. Paul writes: You do not support the root; the root supports you. You will say, ‘Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in… Do not become haughty. Stand in awe. If God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
We do not support the root, our Jewish, our Christian, and our Catholic heritage. It supports us. To be part of that heritage, we must study our heritage. As the article, “You decide between the Baltimore Catechism and the New Catechism,” relates, most of the foreign words in our liturgy are Greek and Hebrew. “Amen,” is the Hebrew word for “faith.” Our lineage traces all the way back to Moses, Abraham, and Adam. We must study our Jewish heritage. Verbum Dei, part of Vatican II relates how we must understand Torah, Gospel, Epistle, Prophets, and Writings as the original writers understood them. Our faith must have depth, not just emotional content.
Revelations 12:17 reads, “The Taanah became angry with the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring, those who keep God’s Mitzvah and bear witness to Jesus.” Who is the woman? Our faith tradition holds it is our Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus. Our Blessed Virgin is our mother, and God is our Father. We are the children, all of us who love one another. How are we to know that we belong to the faith? We love one another.
To be part of the vine, we must be part of the vine, actively attending Mass on Sunday. We must be an integral part of the faith community, the Mystical Body of Christ. That includes arriving early and developing what the Jewish Community calls “Cavanah” or “Intention.” We must meditate upon the murals, including the Stations of the Cross, not just during Lent, but every Sunday. We need to know the name of the person sitting next to us, their joys, and their fears, their wants and their jeers.
How can we be brothers and sisters of the same family and not even know each others names?
During baptism classes, some argue that their Godparents need not be Catholic or regular attendees of Mass. How can they help teach our children to be part of the Mystical Body if they are not members of the Mystical Body? Baptism is not like christening a ship. Baptism is making our children part of the Mystical Body, fellow children of God and our Blessed Virgin.
This Sunday is the first Sunday of the month. Come down and having some of those high cholesterol doughnuts, along with coffee spiked with cream and sugar. It is not about doughnuts and coffee, it is about community.
Recognize the Chi Rho as it sits above the Bishop’s seat and know it represents Christ. Know the meaning of the symbols in our beloved St. Thomas Aquinas Cathedral. Look at the portrait to our left, the man next to King David and his harp, Melchizedek. Father Francisco will read, “Remain in me, as I remain in you.” Next to him are two candles with flames intertwining. Genesis 14 reminds us how Melchizedek is the charitable ruler bringing bread and wine to Abraham/E Pluribus Unum. We must gather with our Jesus in the Eucharist, and be a community/of the Many, One, just as God is One. Are we up to the task?
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