The past 2 weeks, I spent a lot of time reflecting on Sunday’s gospel (5/3/2015) where Jesus reminds us that He is the vine and we are the branches.
When a branch suffers, it causes harm to the entire vine. When a branch bears joyous fruit, the entire vine rejoices and thrives. But what happens when a branch chooses not to commit to the vine? What happens? The entire vine suffers. For those of us who were raised in the Roman Catholic Church, there is so much of church we take for granted. For example, if we chose not to come to church one weekend, we had several hundred families who filled our space in the pew. At St. Francis Old Catholic Church (SFOCC), when one person decides not to come one Sunday, a void is felt. If we choose to only give a few cents to the offering or nothing, we had hundreds of families who gave generously. At SFOCC, when we choose not to be generous, we have to cut our budget which limits our ministry. If we chose not to participant fully in the life of the church and in liturgical ministry, hundreds of others were willing to step forward and fill the positions. At SFOCC, those roles go empty. I think you begin to see what I am saying.
Being a smaller community, we don’t have the luxury to let someone else be church. We have a greater responsibility to truly and actively commit to the success of the parish. We have to be the church. A church who commits to the mission and vision sacrifices everything to see that mission come to fulfillment. When we love something, we can’t help but share that with others and want to be involved. Commitment is infectious. The more joyous we are, the more people will be drawn. Let me be clear, commitment isn’t for my sake. Whether we have 1 or 100 members, I will be happy to celebrate our faith. Commitment is for you and the other members. You each have a reason why you first came to SFOCC and if you believe in SFOCC, don’t you owe it to you and yourself to share that with others? Is it not our Gospel commandment to Love God, Love Others, and Make Disciples. We fulfill this by worshiping and participating fully in church, participating in fellowship with our community and getting to know our neighbors and friends, and by sharing our faith with others and inviting them to church.
I know this can be hard to hear, but ask yourself, “Do I believe in SFOCC? If so, am I committed? If not, how can I be committed?” Because to be honest, if you don’t, who will? Maybe you find yourself saying that “no” you don’t believe in SFOCC. That is okay. Honesty is the best policy. We have our list of current members and as such, we are expecting and hoping for your commitment, but if you aren’t in the space to make that commitment, let us know so we can plan accordingly but if you are….let your actions show that commitment!
On Pentecost Sunday (5/24/2015), we celebrate the birth of the Church. This is the day we celebrate the Holy Spirit descending on the church. Come wearing red and ready to celebrate. As part of our celebration each person should have a Hymn or Christian song they know well enough to sing. We will all join together in singing our songs at the same time. Also remember we will have a Parish Meeting on 5/17/15 immediately after Mass. We will be discussing the future of SFOCC and where we are headed.
I am the vine, you are branches…are you willing to bear great fruit?