Friday Fanfare: May 15th >>> (A) Sunday schedule (B) “Fun Bunch” back to full-speed (C)Supporting Camp Crucis (D) “Jesus, the True Vine”

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Dear Good Shepherd Parish Family,
Greetings in the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ!
As May unfolds, life at your parish church is percolating a bit more each week.  
For the latest details…here we go!
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(A) SUNDAY, MAY 17TH SCHEDULEThis will be our 3rd Sunday Mass back from the Covid-19 hiatus.  Last Sunday, 5/10, we had 28 in attendance…up by 4 from the previous Sunday.  
As with the previous Sundays, this will be an abbreviated Sunday Schedule.  We will have our usual 9:15 a.m. Mass.  Then, we will skip the Refreshment hourand Christian Formation until we get to the first Sunday in June (6/07). I hope that if you are in good health, and your doctor does not suggest that you stayaway from gatherings of 50 or less, you will join us for worship at GSAC.  As always, of course, use your own judgment.  Just know that you are missed!
We will pre-record the Easter 6 Mass tomorrow- for viewing on YouTube the next day.   So, if you are unable to attend in person on Sunday, consider visiting our website:  gsac.church, and clicking on the Easter 6 connection that will be prominent on the website on Sunday morning.  And, BTW:  recommend to a family member, friend (FaceBook or otherwise) that they can “visit your church” a bit by accessing the YouTube Mass.  It might even be a bit of subtle evangelization.
And, remember:  On Sunday, June 7th…the Feast of “Trinity Sunday”…we will be back on full Sunday schedule, with Mass; then, Refreshments, and Christian Formation classin the parish hall.
(B)  THE “FUN BUNCH” BACK TO FULL-SPEEDGood Shepherd’s Sandwich making ministry will return to full-speed ahead on Monday, May 18th at 4:30 pm in the parish hall.
This great group- nicknamed “The Fun Bunch”- lives up to its name each week as they prepare over 150 bologna and cheese sandwiches (with a cookie to boot!) for distributionat Brazos River Baptist Church the next day.
During the Covid-interruption, the group has kept up 2/3 speed, with several couples taking turns at preparing the sandwiches on Mondays.  Special thanks to Don & Wilma McComas, Clay & Patti Byrne, Lanny & Jeanne McElroy, and to George Pleickhardt for keeping the fire burning during the recess.
So:  if you’ve been looking for a lay ministry to join, come join the Fun Bunch on Monday.  It’s “on-the-job” training for sure.  Lanny will give special instruction on broken cookie reclamation!
(C) SUPPORTING CAMP CRUCISEach June, Camp Crucis sponsors a wonderful “Bishop Iker Golf Tournament” at Squaw Valley Golf Course near Glen Rose.  This year, alas, there will be no tournament, due to the restrictions on large gatherings in these “Covid-19” days.  Members of GSAC have always been generous either paying for a golf round, or via buying Raffle Tickets.  Won’t you please consider simply making a direct donation to Camp Crucis this next month?  You may find directions for how to do this on either the Camp Crucis web page, or the main Diocesan web site.  
And, thank you!

(D) “JESUS, THE TRUE VINE”This Easter Season we have been encountering several of Jesus’ seven “I AM” statements in John’s Gospel.  From “I am the Door”, through “I am the Good Shepherd”, to “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”, we have been pondering with joy all that Jesus’ Resurrection reveals to us about our life and salvation.  Here’s a little article I’ve written for Sunday’s bulletin:

Easter 6:  The Resurrection Life of the Vine

May 17, 2020

 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-dresser…

Abide in me, and I in you…

I am the vine, you are the branches.  

He who abides in me, and I in him, 

he it is that bears much fruit…” (John 15:1, 4, and 5)

In this Easter Season of Resurrection living, we are invited by Jesus–the Lord of Life–to discover the source and the dynamic of this eternal life.  As well, we are exhorted to reproduce this life in the world. He calls that “bearing much fruit”.

Jesus of Nazareth was a country boy.  

No, not in the “Dukes of Hazard”, good ole boy sense.  But, he was raised in simplicity by a working class carpenter, and a young, uneducated mother

He was raised in a small, ‘hick town’ that was called a byword in Israel (‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth!?’).  Like most country folk, the Son of God lived close to the land, and was observant of nature.  His eyes were not beguiled by the majesty or sophistication of big cities.  Most of His teachings on the Kingdom of God were, likewise, close to the earth, “…either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad..”; “the kingdom of God is like a man sowing seed- some in good soil, some in bad…”.  

No wonder, then, that His depiction of resurrection life was rural and earthy.  “I am the true vine”, “you are the branches”, place us in organic connection to our Savior.  We are to be as close to Jesus as a branch is to a vine.  {In the Eucharistic Prayer this is described thus:  “that He may dwell in us, and we in Him”}  Abiding in Christ (the NIV has it “remaining in Christ”) is the lifelong goal of all Jesus’ disciples:  including YOU and me. The dynamic of this life is His Love living in each of us!  He promises the Holy Spirit as the Way this dynamic life keeps our love true.

Beyond abiding, we are commanded to do what vines and branches do:  they make grapes, which are crushed into wine.  So, we are not ‘consumers’ of the resurrection life of Jesus.  We are, ourselves, to become bearers of lives that are crushed by the Lord in the act of bearing fruit for divine Wine.  And, as our Master entered into Glory by self-sacrifice, so we who abide in Him, live lives of sacrifice.  To lay down our lives in imitation of Jesus is the way to true fruitfulness.

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I look forward to seeing YOU some day soon.

Love in Christ,

Fr. Stuart Smith