Homily for the Fifth Sunday of Easter

Detail from Creation of Adam by Michelangelo

Homily for the Fifth Sunday of Easter
Acts 9:26-31 1 John 3:18-24 John 15:1-8

“Let’s keep in touch!”

How often have we said that to others?
How often have others said that to us?
It may seem to be a throw-away parting comment
but those three small words, “Keep in touch!”
sum up one of the most important realities in life.

To understand this better, consider the alternative:
when we’re “out of touch” we run the risk of becoming
disconnected, dislocated, unhinged… and alone.

When we’re out of touch we unplug the communication,
we undo the bonds that keep families together,
friends united and communities whole;
we lose the touch of smiles, warms words, handshakes,
embraces and kisses.

On the first pages of the scriptures,
we find the Creator looking at the one human being he had made
and saying, “You know, it’s not good for you to be alone.”
And so God made another and told the two of them,
“Keep in touch: with each other - and with me.”

Jesus is giving us the same message in the gospel today:
“Keep in touch!”

Jesus says:
I am the vine, you are the branches.
“See, we’re in touch with each other!”

Jesus says:
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine,

so neither can you unless you remain in me.

“Stay connected - lest you wither and fall from the vine and die…”

Jesus says:
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit,

because without me you can do nothing.

“Keep in touch - we are meant to be together.”

We are made to be with, in the company of, united to,
connected with, companions for -- one another.
What greater time to ponder this than Mothers Day weekend!

Our very being comes from a man and woman
intimately in touch with each other
and the first nine months of our lives are spent in the intimacy
of our being in touch with, our living within our mother.

Our first trauma is the disconnection of leaving the womb -
until we are pressed close to our mother’s breast,
keeping in touch with the one who carried us into the world.

The Lord is always asking us to “keep in touch” with him
-- and with each other.
What we do here every weekend is meant to help us, the branches,
remain one with Christ who is the vine.

We keep in touch with the Lord
just by our coming together in his name.
Where two or three are gathered in my name,
there am I in the midst of them…

We keep in touch by hearing his voice speak to us in the scriptures.

We keep in touch with one another by praying and singing together.

And most important,
we keep in touch with the Lord and with one another
in celebrating and receiving the Eucharist,
the sacrament in which the Lord makes of our bodies and our community
a womb, a tabernacle of his presence,
offering us the intimacy of consuming him,
body and blood, in Communion.

We rejoice in a special way at this Mass because these children
will be receiving the Lord for the first time in the Eucharist.
In Communion with Jesus and with all of us who share at this table,
these children begin today to “keep in touch” with the Lord
in the sacrament that will mark the rest of their lives as Catholic Christians.

We pray that they will always “keep in touch” with the Lord,
not only in word or speech, but in deed and truth
and in the prayer and life of the Church.

For the rest of us, we would do well to remember
that not a day has gone by since our own First Communion,
no matter how long ago that was,
not a day has gone by when the Lord has not whispered in our hearts,
“Let’s keep in touch…”



  1. I just love that painting by Michelangelo.

  2. Sometimes when it is very difficult and I have to literally force myself to be "in touch", my "fuel tank of hope", on or close to empty, gets a fill-up. (and I don't even have a car anymore!)

  3. I remember a long time ago you sent me this painting. Perhaps I need to go back and remember why you sent it and the thought behind it. Keep in touch. Keep in touch with the people who love and care about you. Keep in touch with the Loving God who puts people in your life to simply be there for you. And try to keep in touch with what The Lord is trying to say and do when we need Him most.


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