St. Cyril of Jerusalem Parish,15520 Ventura Boulevard, Encino, California - St. Cyril of Jerusalem Church, 15520 Ventura Boulevard,  Encino, California 91436



From the Desk of Father Mac

Fifth Sunday of Easter
April 29th, 2018

My Dear Friends in Christ,

In today’s Gospel Jesus says: "I am the vine, you are the branches." Where does a vine stop and its branches begin? Their union is too complete to tell. The same sap gives life to the vine and to its branches. Jesus unites himself to us so intimately that his very life flows through our veins. But, we are responsible for keeping ourselves united to the vine. If we don't, Jesus makes it perfectly clear that we will not bear fruit; we will wither, die, and be burned. How do we stay united to the vine, so that we can bear fruit and share in eternal life? In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus points out four ways to do just that.

First, staying united to the vine means constantly growing in prayer. Prayer is like sunlight for a plant.

Second, "remaining in Christ" means making frequent use of the sacraments, most especially the sacraments of the Eucharist and confession. If prayer is sunlight, the Eucharist is a rain shower, refreshing and renewing our souls. And If a branch gets damaged in a wind storm, the gardener knows how to tie it up and graft it back on to the vine. That's what happens in confession: Jesus renews the connection with him that our sin has damaged or broken.

Third, staying united to the vine requires loving obedience to God's will. This is what St John refers to in today's Second Reading, when he writes: "Children, let us not love one another in word or in speech, but in deed and truth." It's easy to say pretty words, to talk the talk of being a good Catholic. But that talk has to translate into action and faithful obedience to Church teaching, especially on difficult issues. As challenging as some of the church’s teachings are, we must seek to form our conscience in light of church teaching and then boldly share the truth of our faith in love. Otherwise, we are no better than play actors, acting like Christ's followers, but not really following Christ.

Fourth, staying united to the vine means allowing God to prune us. This pruning often takes the form of suffering. When God permits us to suffer we have to let our faith remind us that we are under his control. He is the vinedresser. He knows how much pruning we can handle. And he knows how to use that suffering to unite us more deeply with Christ, who suffered on the cross to redeem the world. In times of pain and hardship, God is begging us to trust in him more and more, and to accept the Cross, not rebelling when God tries to prune us.

Prayer, the sacraments, loving obedience, and suffering in union with Christ are what keep the Christian sap flowing in our lives. They yield the fruit we yearn for most: a life filled with meaning and purpose, a life that positively impacts others and radiates joy and enthusiasm, a life that changes this world for the better in as profound a way as Christ's own life did, and a life whose meaning and impact overflow into eternity.

In Christ,


For Information, please contact the Parish Office at or phone 818.986.8234


St Cyril of Jerusalem Parish
15520 Ventura Boulevard
(mail: 4601 Firmament Ave)
Encino, CA  91436
818- 986.8234


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Image of artwork in header - Used with permission (one-time use only)  from: Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, La Crosse, WI.
Title: "St Cyril of Jerusalem" - Artist: Anthony Visco, Atelier for the Sacred Arts, Philadelphia, PA - Shrine’s website:

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