English Español Mary Immaculate
Catholic Church / Pacoima, CA

Bearing Fruit

Fifth Sunday of Easter

“Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.” John’s words come to us on this day when the Gospel passage presents us with the great image of the vine and the branches. Jesus uses the image as a warning to those who have be- gun to distance themselves from the way of the Lord. One of the ways this happens is when we love God and others “in word or speech” instead of “in deed and truth.” What does it mean for us to “remain in Christ”? In an extension of the metaphor, the Lord gives us an example. If we remain in him, we will bear much fruit. As the branches, we draw strength from Christ who is the vine. This strength enables us to bear fruit—to do the work of true discipleship.

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Readings for the Week

Monday: Acts 14:5-18; Ps 115:1-4, 15-16; Jn 14:21-26
Tuesday: Acts 14:19-28; Ps 145:10-13ab, 21; Jn 14:27-31a
Wednesday: Acts 15:1-6; Ps 122:1-5; Jn 15:1-8
Thursday: Acts 15:7-21;Ps 96:1-3, 10;Jn 15:9-11
Friday: Acts 15:22-31;Ps 57:8-10, 12;Jn 15:12-17
Saturday: Acts 16:1-10;Ps 100:1b-3, 5;Jn 15:18-21
Sunday: Acts 10:25-36, 34-35, 44-48; Ps 98:1-4; 1 Jn 4:7-10 or 1 Jn 4:11-16; Jn 15:9-17

Saints & Special Observances

Sunday: Fifth Sunday of Easter
Tuesday: Cinco de Mayo
Thursday: National Day of Prayer

The Pope Francis leads prayers for victims of Nepal earthquake

“Dear Brothers and Sisters, I want to assure you of my closeness to the people affected by the devastating earthquake in Nepal and neighboring countries. I pray for the victims and the wounded, I pray for all those who are suffering on account of this calamity. May they have the support of fraternal solidarity”
Pope Francis
April 26, 2015

Treasures from Our Tradition

Over time, the crisis of last illness and the way thefaithful met death changed. In earliest times, a sickbed vigil was an occasion for the community to gather and strengthen the dying person with assurances of love. A thousand years ago, in part because of massive upheavals in society, a new emphasis on individual repentance captured the imagination of millions. Death was to be feared, because it was about judgment. The delights of heaven’s banquet dimmed, since most people saw God’s just judgment and inevitable punishment intervening. If a community gathered at all, it was not to express faith in the Resurrection, but to seek forgiveness for those who were powerless to help themselves. The dead couldn’t improve their situation, but their loved ones, by expressing sorrow for sin, could. Better yet, the clergy could, if they intervened in a timely fashion, provide the absolution needed for everyone to relax. Ministry to the sick shifted away from a ministry of consolation toward a challenge to repent before it was too late.

As the sense grew that most people died with their incomplete work of repentance , the color black was reintroduced to funerals. It was the old pagan way of expressing despair. No wonder they call this time in history the “Dark Ages.” Many layers have had to be peeled away to reveal the deepest, most positive expressions of our tradition of care for the dying.