Last Sunday, we heard the parable of the Good Shepherd (John 10). This parable is one of the first parables given to the youngest children in the atrium, part of our Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program. Through repeated presentations and work with the materials, the children deepen their knowledge and love of Jesus Christ through the image of the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd knows the sheep by name; He cares for the sheep—feeding, protecting, and loving. The sheep respond by following. Often, the youngest children relate the Good Shepherd to their mother or father but over time, they come to discover even more about the Good Shepherd; his presence in the Eucharist that transcends time and space.
I am the True Vine
This coming Sunday’s Gospel reveals even greater mysteries about Jesus, the Father, and ourselves. In the parable of the True Vine (John 15), Jesus proclaims, “I am the true vine and my father is the vine grower… I am the vine you are the branches.”
With the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, we save this more abstract image of Jesus for the older child. Before, Jesus was comparing himself to a person but with this parable, a plant. We tell the children that the parable was so special that Jesus waited until near the end of his life to share. Using a live plant the children meditate on the verses of the parable. Presented in two different settings, the first meditation focuses on our union with Christ and one another and our call to remain or abide in Him with God’s help; the second study focuses on our personal obstacles to this union and God’s desire to work with us to remove those obstacles through the gift of absolution.
I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (John 10:10)
I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. (John 15:11)
–Anna Hurdle, Sunday Catechisis Coordinator