Yesterday was the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. Pope Francis proclaimed a Year of St. Joseph beginning on December 8, 2020. Since the Diocese of Baton Rouge is celebrating its 60 the anniversary in 2021, Bishop Duca has designated our diocesan celebration of “60 Years in the Year of St. Joseph” to begin on May 1, the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker and completing on the Feast of St. Joseph on March 19, 2022. Various activities are planned to increase our love for this great saint, to encourage us to implore his intercession, and imitate his virtues and his zeal. Inserted in today’s bulletin is a prayer to St. Joseph that the Diocese is encouraging us to use during the next year.

“I am the vine, my Father is the vine grower. I am the vine, you are the branches. Remain in me as I remain in you. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit.”

Today Jesus wants to remind us how intimately we are united to the Father, the vine grower and to Jesus the true vine. By Baptism and Confirmation the very life of the Holy Trinity: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit has been given to us so that we may bear much fruit in being his disciples. In our first reading from the Acts of the Apostles we see how the early church was bearing much fruit. “The church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria was at peace. It was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord, and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit it grew in numbers.” This was proof that the early Christians, the branches, were intimately united to the Risen Christ, the true vine.

Fr. Michael Casey, a Cistercian monk beautifully describes the intimate relationship between the Risen Christ and us. “The essence of the Christian religion is our being grafted into Christ, allowing the true vine’s energizing sap to circulate through our veins so that all our thoughts, words, and deeds are progressively upgraded, and we become more Christlike. It is a slow process but eventually it yields fruit, and continues to do so for as long as we remain on the vine. We are not the source of our own virtue, it is all gift.”

How do we remain united to the vine which is Christ? What must we do each day to receive the life and vitality of the Risen Christ? Obviously we must spend some quality time each day in prayer with the Risen Christ. He speaks to us, we listen and respond. Equally important is the reception of the Sacraments especially the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ. Here every Sunday we are nourished and energized with the life of the Father, the vine grower and Jesus the true vine.

So we pray: Good and loving Father we thank you for sharing your very life with us each day. Fill us up with your Spirit so that we may bear much fruit in being your disciples. Prune from us whatever is displeasing to you so that we, your branches may bear much fruit and be pleasing in your sight. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.