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Friday, May 11, 2018

Let Christ’s Shadow Fall on the World so Cruelly Crushed by Abortion

Rachel's Vineyard: 
Hope for those Who Carry the Burden of Guilt

by Susan Fox 

“And behold, men brought in a bed a man, who had the palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him (Jesus). And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in, because of the multitude, they went up upon the roof, and let him down through the tiles with his bed into the midst before Jesus."  (Luke 5:18-19)

And that is how Rachel’s Vineyard works. A friend is ill. You cannot reach Jesus because of the crowds so you lower him into the house through the roof. And Jesus forgives his sins and heals him.

Theresa Burke, a psychologist, founded Rachel’s Vineyard after researching abortion’s effects on men and women, finding it often causes grief, shame and depression. 

The dirty secret is that the abortion industry is wreaking havoc with people’s health. Women who have had an abortion  are at 81 percent higher risk for mental health problems compared to women who have not had an abortion, according to Professor Priscilla Coleman, who spoke at an event on  March 14, 2018, sponsored by the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC).

Shockingly, Coleman concluded that 10 percent of all mental health problems are attributable to abortion.

Men  suffer almost identical effects. They must cope with “choice,” something they are completely denied in an abortion, leaving them emasculated with a loss of masculine identity, according to Men and Abortion:
Psychological Effects by Catherine T. Coyle, RN, PhD. The law in most countries does not even allow them to be informed if their wife plans to have an abortion. 

After an abortion, some men attempt to abort their own lives, committing suicide, and some suffer impotence post-abortion. Some choose to change their sexual orientation. 

Men, who self identify as homosexual, often comment on my pro-life posts and tell me proudly they don’t need an abortion because their relationships do not produce new life. Such are the costs of female “Choice:” men fear women.

Ironically, Norma McCorvey, the Jane Roe in the nefarious 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision (Roe v Wade) that legalised abortion, did enter a homosexual relationship after giving birth to three children. She never had an abortion, but right up to her death in 2017, she was burdened with the knowledge that she helped begin a law that caused 60 million American deaths. Happily, she joined the Catholic Church in the late ‘90s and died chaste and pro-life, fighting abortion up to her last hours. 


Rachel’s Vineyard offers retreats for “all impacted by abortion loss,” Rachel Vineyard’s Executive Director Nancy Blom said. The retreat can help both women and men, young and old, address the spiritual trauma caused by abortion. Blom said abortion loss can take decades … or a lifetime … to heal.

“Thus they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and mats so that when Peter came by, at least his shadow might fall on one or another of them. (Acts 5:15-16)

I hope we can take all the men and women crushed by abortion and let Christ’s shadow fall upon them. The weekend retreat Rachel’s vineyard is just such an effort. Participants are led through scriptural readings in this pattern: Friday the focus is on the crucifixion; Saturday, it is Jesus in the tomb, and Sunday’s focus is on the Resurrection. Retreatants participate in guided mediation on Sacred Scripture and group discussion. 

At one point they read the account of Lazarus in the tomb.

Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give You whatever You ask Him.”“Your brother will rise again,” Jesus told her….“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies. And everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.”  (John 11:21-26)

He then went to the tomb of Lazarus and wept. People asked, “Could not this man who opened the eyes of the blind also have kept Lazarus from dying?” (John 11:37) Lazarus was dead already for four days, but Jesus ordered them to roll away the burial stone. Then He called Lazarus to come out. “The man who had been dead came out with his hands and feet bound in strips of linen, 
and his face wrapped in a headcloth. “Unwrap him and let him go,” Jesus told them.” (John 11:44)


This is physically reenacted in a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat. Participants play the role of Lazarus. They choose what parts of their body they want wrapped up. They pray while the Lazarus account is read. Then Christ comes Himself and unwraps the strips of linen binding them, usually in the form of a Catholic priest. 

It is incredibly powerful moment in a retreat meant to bring healing to people involved in an abortion. Most people feel like they can never get out from under that burden. But Christ  comes, enters the room, picks up the heavy stone and …throws it away. 

If there is anyone who can understand that experience it is Julia Holcomb, a Catholic
Julia Holcomb
convert with seven children, who is the former fiancee of Steven Tyler, lead singer for the 1970s hard rock band Aerosmith. Tyler coerced her into having an abortion when she was a teenager and his ward.  She made the Rachel’s Vineyard retreat after she converted to Catholicism many years later. “There were some beautiful experiences of living Scriptures,” she said, “I felt like it was an encounter with Christ personally.”

Her face lights up with joy when she describes the Rachel’s Vineyard retreat. This is at the end of a long sad video — where her face is etched with suffering — in which she describes the ordeal that was her three-year relationship with Steven Tyler. She met Tyler when she was 15, and her parents gave him guardianship over her. I guess he imagined
Rock Star Steven Tyler
himself in love with her because he asked her to have a baby with him, and then threw her birth control pills over the balcony. 

She became pregnant, and they were planning to marry. But his family refused to accept their relationship, believing it wouldn’t last. So it began to unravel. He abandoned her in an apartment with no food, no money, no education, and no maternal health care. On the phone he promised to send his friend Ray over to take her to the grocery store. But when Ray showed up, she suddenly woke up in the middle of a fire in their apartment alone, and the door was barred from the outside. 

Amazingly, convicted rapist Bill Cosby saved her life because she remembered he had advised crawling into the fireplace in event of a fire. Once she was inside her bedroom’s fireplace, she looked up at the picture on the
The Light of the World
wall called the
Light of the World by Charles Chambers. It is a famous portrait of the Child Jesus. Her copy had belonged to her grandmother. Thinking she was dying, she prayed for forgiveness. She miraculously survived the fire without brain damage. Then her ordeal really began. 

In the hospital after the fire, Tyler insisted she get an abortion. She refused the abortion repeatedly. But then he threatened to abandon her. Poor girl, she had been rejected by her own mother and two stepfathers, and she felt like Steven was all she had so she agreed to the abortion, which took place as she was recovering from smoke inhalation from the fire.

She was 18 years old, five months pregnant and the doctor did not explain the saline abortion procedure to her. He just said, “Hold still or you might die.” Then he jammed a huge needle into her belly to put the saline solution into her womb to kill the baby. It was very painful. 

Through hours of pain, she laboured to deliver what she was told would be a dead baby. At her side, Tyler snorted cocaine, even offering her some. Later, he told her her son, whom she later named Michael, had been born alive, but killed by the nurse. She didn’t even know how that was legal. It only added to her crushing guilt.


In recent years, she started researching the matter, and found the startling statistic that 64 percent of abortions are coerced. “That’s a shocking statistic. What young girl is going to win out over  adults with a financial interest at stake when she’s made the decision to have her baby. She’s usually going to lose because she’s underage and she’s not the adult in the room. It’s unfair to say it’s a choice,” she said, pleading for a change in our laws to protect women and their babies from forced abortion.

Today, Julia Holcomb is a happy Catholic wife and mother, who received significant healing from her abortion through the Catholic Sacrament of Confession and a  Rachel’s Vineyard’s Retreat. She is a spokeswoman
Julia Holcomb with Silent No More protestors
for Silent No More, an American pro-life organisation. Congressman Christopher Smith of New Jersey has called the Silent No More campaign "...a powerful new voice. These brave wounded women are the new champions of life. They have refused to be silent any longer. They care too deeply about other women and their children and they want others to be spared the anguish they have endured. And to the millions of women who have aborted, they are uniquely equipped to convey the breathtaking love, healing, and reconciliation that God provides to those who ask.”

“No matter how far from grace someone has fallen you can turn to God, and  His goodness is so big he can help you to rebuild your life and find healing,” Holcomb said from the depths of her own experience. “I would encourage anyone who has had an abortion to turn to the Church for healing and look at a retreat experience like Rachel’s Vineyard as another important step to find that healing.”


The image of the paralysed man is a excellent way to describe the feelings of someone who has been directly involved in an abortion. It can be the baby’s father or his mother, or the roommate of the baby’s mother. I’ve seen grieving grandparents who lost a child this way. Even sisters and brothers suffer in an abortion. I know of a woman who dreamt her father and mother planned to kill her, and were digging her grave. She was a little girl at the time. Decades later she found out her parents had aborted a younger sibling.

The tendrils of the abortion experience are so insidious that when I think of the 60.3 million Americans who lost their lives to abortion, I realise that to understand the complete damage done to our people, we must multiply the number of abortions by 5 or 6. It comes to 362 million people affected by abortion in the United States. But our population  is only 325.7 million! The babies are dead, but their brothers, sisters, mothers, grandparents, fathers, aunts and uncles, even cousins must still deal with the lasting pain caused by their absence. And that could very well be every single American alive today. 



SOURCES:




“Distinguished academic tells MPs about the mental health risks of abortion,” Society for the Protection of Unborn Children. 

Rachel’s Vineyard Vine and Branches Newsletter 


Men and Abortion: Psychological Effects by Catherine T. Coyle, RN, PhD.
http://www.kofc.org/en/resources/cis/cis334.pdf  The pdf on this one keeps disappearing. 
Here is a google address for the download. 



Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Of Course, It's Murder

If You Know What You Are Doing!

Abortion
"We argue that all human beings have a special type of dignity which is the basis for the obligation not to kill them, to take their well being into account when we act, and even the obligation to treat them as we would have them treat us. Indeed All human beings are equal in fundamental dignity," (Patrick Lee and Robert P. George, The Nature and Basis of Human Dignity)

by Susan Fox 

In 1984, in Cahersiveen, Ireland, a three-day-old infant was found dead on the beach on the outskirts of town, strangled and stabbed 28 times. He was named Baby John. 
His community still grieves for him, while his parentage remains a mystery.

CNN International, affectionately called the the “Communist News Network” by many reasonable Americans, has resurrected this sad story in a bid to prove that women need to rise up and claim ownership of their Irish bodies, rebel against their society dominated so cruelly by selfish Irish men and the evil Catholic Church. These groups are responsible for women not having“freedom” — “freedom” defined as access to abortion and contraception. Such freedom will make them equal to men, able to work and make loads of money. Hence a woman’s value lies only in how much she earns. 

Based on CNN’s post, A baby’s murder opened a dark chapter in Ireland that still hasn’t been closed, Irish women now have the opportunity to get this “freedom” on May 25, 2018, when they will be able to vote to legalise abortion by repealing the 
8th Amendment. It offers equal protection to mothers and their unborn children, guaranteeing both the right to life. If it is repealed, Ireland may soon have permissive abortion laws. 

I agree that we should grieve over the life of three-day-old Baby John, but I find the inference that we need to legalise the murder of countless other little  persons  to make up for the loss of one infant is irrational at best. But such is the disordered thinking of CNN.  

Grieve, yes, grieve for Baby John. But grieve also for the 60.3 million tiny Americans who legally died in exactly the same manner as Baby John, slashed, torn apart, sold for parts, having their living brain torn out of their face while their tiny heart still beat. 

It is a fact that the largest U.S. abortion provider was doing just that until they were caught on film in 2015 by the Centre for Medical Progress. They were manipulating abortions, making them more painful for the mothers, so that a live birth would ensue, giving them fresh tiny organs to sell on an extremely lucrative market.

This organisation, Planned Parenthood, is still receiving over half a billion dollars every year from the U.S. Government.

Sixty-six years ago it was Me in my mother’s womb. Would you kill me? Sixty six years ago there was a doctor who tried. If he had succeeded I would have been deprived not only of my life, but 65 years of productive work. Countless lives I have touched in my volunteer work would not have been assisted, consoled or educated. My husband would have been deprived of 34 years of joyful marriage. My son would not exist. Every life snuffed out before birth has the same rich potential.


The condition of pregnancy is not an illness. The bodily support of a woman is indispensable for any human being  to survive to infancy. Every child conceived has an absolute right to its natural development in the womb, the care of its parents, an education and the benefits of citizenship in a human society because he is a unique and unrepeatable human creature with its own inherent dignity. 

He belongs to himself and not to somebody else. We don’t believe in slavery, why would we support abortion? What has happened to our moral grit when the pleasure of two adults
We don't believe in slavery, why should we
accept abortion? 
trumps the life of a child? The fact we are talking about a helpless human being increases the moral claim of such an individual on our kindness and support. People just  can’t be flushed down the toilet.

A human being is not a word magnet. He is not a set of attributes or capacities, which define him as a human person. We don’t suddenly become persons when we are able to live on our own sometime in our teenage years, nor do we cease to be human persons when we slip into a coma or go to sleep at night.  The gorilla may have more intellectual capacity than a human embryo, but he acts on instinct. He will never be a rational animal.  But each unique and unrepeatable human creature, existing for his own sake, not for the benefit of another, is a member of a rational kind whether born or unborn. Abortion turns the death of a human being into someone else’s  benefit. 

The Spirit of God breathed into man at the beginning of Creation so that “man became a living being,” (Gen. 2:7)
Pope John Paul II celebrates Mass for youth
in Central Park, New York City in 1995
Pope Saint John Paul II told the youth of New York in 1995. 
“This is what makes us different from every other creature. In our bodies we are a mere speck in the vast created universe, but by virtue of our souls we transcend the whole material world.”

“I invite you to reflect on what makes each one of you truly marvellous and unique. Only a human being like you can think and speak and share your thoughts in different languages with other human beings all over the world, (and then) through that language express the beauty of art and poetry and music and literature and the theatre,” the pope said, adding that human beings are capable of loving.

“Love makes us seek what is good; love makes us better persons. It is love that prompts men and women to marry and form a family, to have children… Every genuine human love is a reflection of the Love that is God Himself,” he said.

If we try and count every person in the human race today, we would become very weary, but each person is unique and contains the potential to grasp with his mind and his heart the whole of the universe. And something in us desires to touch Someone Greater than Ourselves, who loves us and looks out for us. A whole universe can be found in a single human being.

"There are ultimately no private acts. Everything we think, everthing we say and do, however privately, shapes and influences us, our families and friends, and so touches the world outside," wrote Piers Paul Read in "Can Catholicism save Christian England?" The Spectator, March 31, 2010.


Today we face a demographic winter that will seriously impact future generations. The world’s most advanced and emerging economies (China, India and Russia) are watching their working age population decline for the first time since 1950, according to the United Nations. People over 65 years are expected to outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history in the next two decades. This is a drag on the economy. Economic growth is a function of an expanding labor force and rising productivity. (Source: Wall Street Journal)

Every country in Europe has a below replacement level fertility rate with the European Union running at 1.58 babies born to one woman. Immigration will never replace the skill set of our ageing population. The wisdom is gone.  This is the end of stable society.

We all begin in relationship. No one who is alive today came into this world without an interconnected, mutually dependent group of adults, who loved and raised him. A woman’s unilateral choice made in desperation and fear divorces the baby from a relationship with himself, his father, his grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunts, from the whole human race. Nobody has the right to make that decision for another human being. Reasons for Abortion: Fear Tops the List

Just as we ourselves were looked after, there is a presumption that we will look after our dependent family members. It’s part of the covenant between generations. It is a form of freeloading to deny your children the benefit of support  that brought you into the world. 

This generation is plagued with free-loaders. And I don’t mean the women who get an abortion. I have close friends who have had multiple abortions, and not one of them
willingly went through that procedure. Their mother, husband, boyfriend, rapist or relative forced them to have an abortion. That is the dirty secret. Abortion is rarely a woman’s  free choice. But each woman who has one, alone bears the guilt and depression that follows. 

Even in economics, it is not strictly true that whenever a supply of goods rises, the value of each unit drops. The value only drops if the demand remains the same. With each new person, there is not only an additional good, but also a new demand for the good. No one else can satisfy the person’s demand for himself. 

If a person were only a good to be had by another, then indeed the existence of a second being just like him in goodness would mean that he could be eliminated. But if his goodness is for him to have, then no substitute can serve. 
A child belongs to himself. His body is never his mother’s.

“When a parliament authorises the termination of pregnancy, agreeing to the elimination of the unborn child, it commits a grave abuse against an innocent human being being utterly unable to defend itself. Parliaments which approve and promulgate such laws must be aware that they are exceeding their proper competence and placing themselves in open conflict with God’s law and the law of nature,” wrote Pope Saint John Paul II in his last work, Memory and Identity.

And what would he say about a whole people choosing abortion through a popular vote? 

“If man can decide by himself, without God, what is good and what is bad, he can also determine that a group of people is to be annihilated,” Pope John Paul II added. “Decisions of this kind were taken, for example, by those who came to power in the Third Reich by democratic means, only to misuse their power in order to implement the wicked programs of National Socialist Ideology . . . Likewise all those who were “inconvenient” for the regime were persecuted.” 

“The cemetery of the victims of human cruelty in our century is extended to include yet another vast cemetery, that of the unborn,” he wrote sadly. 

And I wonder, really wonder when I consider how incredibly sensitive that Germany is about their past, that they cannot see they are acting no differently now  than the Nazi regime? The only difference is the people killed are their own children? Does no one see that Hitler’s suicide was a temporary setback? He really won the war of ideas. 

In Japan, abortion is the most common form of birth control. But they honestly grieve about it. They have a ritual of mourning for abortions.

The New York Times charmingly wrote about this Buddhist practice. Routinely mothers and even abortionists visit a special temple to console a tiny statuette, known as a mizuko jizo, which represents the baby or babies lost. 
Little statuettes of unborn children, the Jizos used in a Mizuko ritual in Japan
Quoting one mother, the newspaper said that she knows she did something evil, but she believes it was necessary. Still she seeks forgiveness from the child in the form of the tiny statuette.

"I think I've done something bad enough to be cursed," said Miss Yuka Sugimoto.  “I'll be scared when I have my next baby.”

"The fact that you have murdered someone will be with you all your life -- it will not disappear," said a 27-year-old salesman, whose words prompted a swell of tears from his girlfriend as they stood before a mizuko jizo.

The newspaper opines that despite the fact that there are no abortion protests in Japan and most people support the practice,  “the signs of a pervasive but silent mourning over abortions are the tens of thousands of mizuko jizo, or guardians of aborted foetuses, miscarried and stillborn babies and those who died very early in life.” They dress up the mizukos like little newborn children.

I find the practice interesting because it reveals a human population that recognises the personhood of the foetus. Technically they don’t. They say the baby doesn’t have a soul yet. But their actions afterwards say otherwise. 

Now compare that with the jaded jokes about dead babies thrown around American abortion clinics. This is from Abby Johnson, a former director of Planned Parenthood and author of Unplanned. The book is about her decision to quit her job at an abortion clinic after she witnessed a baby struggle against the abortionist’s forceps on an ultrasound.

Early in her abortion career, she was introduced to the freezer in the abortion clinic holding the Products of Conception (POC). The dead children were held in the freezer waiting for the biohazard truck to come for disposal. “I found out the name for the that freezer … the nursery. That was a joke. How had that become a joke?” she wrote. 

Then she walked in on her supervisor joking with the abortionist in the POC lab. They said the foetal tissue floating in the dish looked like barbecue. Another disagreed, “I actually think this part looks like strawberry jam.” 

Such macabre humour is commonplace in an abortion clinic, wrote Catholic Stand author Leila Miller, quoting a number of other jokes. The normal outlet of guilt is remorse, confession, atonement, reconciliation and justification. But if this is part of your job, then one must shut down one’s conscience. So they seek companions as guilty as themselves — not to become just, but to justify themselves, Miller wrote. 

“Thus in the buildings where women’s wombs were forcibly opened, where their living babies were shredded, dismembered, and thrown out with the trash, the reinforcement of evil is heard: ‘We laughed. We thought we were so witty.’”  Miller said.

When I argue on Twitter with atheists, some tell me that a woman must give two consents. She must consent to sex, or it is rape. She must also consent to pregnancy or the child in her womb is an alien parasite that must be removed. I think, “If a child in the womb is a parasitic alien, then what are you? The same?” Only you are not. You are this wonderful unique creature who can contain the whole universe because your mother choose to keep you. And the rest, parasites! Throw them in the “nursery!” 

Literally, woman are being assaulted by their own pregnancies. Doctors who treat normal healthy physical conditions as if they were deformed are practicing quackery, asserted Mary Rosera Joyce in her article “Are Women Controlling Their Own Minds?”

She continued: “Roe v Wade (U.S. Supreme Court decision legalising abortion) was not acknowledging a woman’s dignity as a person, but was adjusting to something construed as defective in her nature; her inconvenient tendency to produce unwanted  fetal tissue as a result of her sexual contact with an infecting male…”

What is the purpose of the female womb? How can giving birth be a dysfunction? Pregnancy cannot be compared to rape. It is reasonable to expect a mother to carry her child to term. Parents do not expect to be physically assaulted and neither should the child. 


And once abortion is introduced into a society, the way we think about ourselves changes. Every man will become an alien parasite. Could that be the reason we are facing mass murder in our schools, concerts and along the crowded roadsides? Have the elderly in the U.S. and some places in Europe been starved and dehydrated to death because they have become like the unborn — road kill? When is this chaos going to end?
Man emerging from the womb after abortion is legalised


My Sources:

"Is Uniqueness at the Root of Personal Dignity? John Crosby and Thomas Aquinas" by Stephen L Brock.  He argued that persons are individuals who exist for their own sake, not for the benefit of some other. 

Instruction Dignitas Personae On Certain Bioethical Questions  (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith)

"I Was Once a Fetus: That is Why Abortion is Wrong,"  Alexander R Pruss.

The Ethics of Pregnancy, Abortion and Childbirth: Exploring Moral Choices in Childbearing by Helen Watt

Sunday, April 29, 2018

I Am The True Vine

Sermon by Fr. Joseph Mungai, FMH

Fifth Sunday of Easter, April 29, 2018
Hospital Chaplaincy, Long Island, New York

Many of us are familiar with the American Indian story about a young man who found an eagle’s egg and put it into the nest of a prairie chicken. The eaglet hatched with the brood of prairie chickens and grew up with them. 
All its life, the misplaced eagle thought it was a prairie chicken and did only what the prairie chickens did. It scratched in the dirt for seeds and insects to eat. And it flew no more than a few feet off the ground with a thrashing of wings like other prairie chickens.

Years passed and the unfortunate eagle grew very old. One day, it saw a magnificent bird high above in the cloudless sky. Hanging with graceful majesty on the powerful wind currents, it soared gracefully on its strong golden wings. “What a beautiful bird!” said the unfortunate eagle to its neighbour. 

“That’s an eagle, the chief of the birds,” the neighbour replied, “But don’t give it a second thought. You could never be like him.” So the poor eagle never gave it a second thought and it died thinking it was a prairie chicken.

This frightening story underlies the importance of what we identify ourselves with. Human beings are like vine branches; we need a vine in which to graft and root ourselves. The vine into which we are grafted and rooted conditions the way we see ourselves, the expectations we have of
ourselves, and the ceiling of achievement we place on ourselves. Vines come in many
shapes and colours each soliciting our primary allegiance. They come in the form of nationalism such as Nazism, ideology such as communism, and religion such as the cults. Materialism, pleasure and power are among the most popular vines of our times. Once we identify ourselves with a false vine, it immediately conditions and determines how we see ourselves and what we do with our lives.

The Jews whom Jesus was addressing in today’s gospel (John 15:1-8) knew very well the vine on which they were supposed to be grafted and rooted. Many times in the Old Testament the religious and national entity Israel was referred to as the vine (Psalm 80:8; Isaiah 5:7; Hosea 10:1) which the hand of God had planted (Psalm 80:15; Jer 2:21). The Maccabees even minted a coin in which a vine was used to represent Israel. So when Jesus claimed that he was now the vine they would understand that as an invitation to shift their primary allegiance from Jewish nationalism to the Person and message of Christ.  To make sure they get it, Jesus makes the claim that He is not just the
vine but the true vine. The word “true” (in Greek al├ęthinoshere signifies that which is real, authentic and valid, as opposed to that which is flawed, imperfect or false. To accept Jesus as the true vine into which our lives are grafted and rooted is to regard every human ideology or institution which recommends itself to us as an object of primary allegiance as flawed, imperfect or false.

The misguided eagle in our story was like a branch grafted on a false or imperfect vine. That is why it remained false or imperfect all its life. If a wise bird had told it the truth about itself it would have shifted its self-identification from that of a prairie chicken to that of an eagle. This radical shift in self-understanding would then enable it to produce in its life the marvellous feats for which eagles are known.

Today that word of wisdom is being addressed to us: to stop identifying ourselves primarily in terms of nation, social or economic status, race, gender or religious affiliation. Rather we should see ourselves in
terms of our oneness with Christ just as the branch and the vine are one. Then and only then shall we be able to bear good fruit, the same type of fruit that Christ Himself bears.

We know the pathetic story of Cardinal Wolsey who, under King Henry VIII of England, gave his primary allegiance to the state rather than to God. On his deathbed he left us these words of wisdom: “If I had served God as diligently as I have done the king, He would not have given me over in my gray hairs." His life was like that of the
unfortunate eagle in the story. The gospel invites us today to know better: to graft and root ourselves as  branches into the True Vine, Jesus Christ