A feeling of peace

Shalom Aleichem!

Jesus often greeted his disciples this way. Shalom means ‘Peace‘ and Aleichem means ‘be with you‘ so today I say to you “Shalom Aleichem.” What a wonderful way to welcome someone or to bid someone farewell; certainly far better than our simple “Hello” or “Goodbye.” Even “Shalom” conveys so much more; when we say “Shalom” we wish the receiver peace and happiness, we are offering our desire for their continued well-being, a gift freely given. Imagine how the disciples would have reacted if when Jesus appeared to them he had said “Howdy y’all!” or simply “Hello.”

Vine and Branches

Vine and Branches

When I look around these early days of May I have a feeling of Shalom. I cannot help but marvel at the sudden beauty that is blossoming around us. It seems that every day brings new and brilliant color to thrill our senses. What is even more amazing is that this explosion of new growth is the direct result of, what seemed last fall, to be very drastic pruning. I remember looking at all of the newly cropped plants and thinking how lifeless and empty they appeared. Would they survive the harshness of winter? Had they been pruned too much or too little?

Jesus tells us that “…my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit” [Jn 15:1-2]. When I hear this I cannot help but wonder if the Father has pruned me enough. I hope that I will bear an abundance of fruit. I definitely do not wish to be “thrown out like a branch and wither” [Jn 15:6].

Like my plants, I know, even though counter-intuitive, that careful pruning is necessary; that death is necessary for new life to rise from what remains. I am convinced that God placed all the beautiful plants on earth to remind us of His great love for us, that we have been placed in His garden and that He knows just how much pruning each one of us requires to bear much fruit.

My plants, slowly and silently, have arisen from their wintry sleep, and with each new day they greet me and make me smile.

Shalom Aleichem!

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: http://deaconscorner.org. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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