When Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene, who is searching for Jesus’ body at the tomb (John 20:17), Jesus tells her, “don’t cling to me.” That is, she cannot find him anymore in his Jesus of Nazareth body. Instead she is directed to go to the gathered community where she will find him alive. In today’s Gospel of the 5th Sunday of Easter, we have the image of the vine and branches. Notice how thick the grape vine is in this picture. It conveys durability over time, the thickness of many strands of woody growth over years, and produces not single grapes but huge clusters of them. Because of the individualism of our current Western culture, we think of our own unity with Jesus when we think of the vine and branches. We tend to edit out our unity with the other grapes and with all the growth that has happened in this vine before I came along, growth which will continue after I am no more. Hypercritical as we are today of organized religion and of the Catholic Church in particular, we can block out awareness and appreciation of how being joined with other believers nourishes and supports our own spiritual life. Finding the Lord in the community of believers is not only Mary Magdalene’s challenge, it is also ours!
– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia