Fifth Sunday of Easter
Scripture Reading: John 15:1-8
In today’s gospel John uses the image of the vine and its branches to express the intimacy that exists between Christ and His disciples. The branches of a vine have an intimate relationship with the vine, depending on it at all times and forming one living organism with it. The Gospel text of the vine challenges us thus: how do we maintain intimacy with the living God as we strive to be obedient to our vocation of bearing fruit? What does it mean, to abide or dwell in the vine, to be intimately attached to Jesus?
As Jesus introduced the theme of the vine and the branches in the Gospel passage, He speaks of His Father, the vinedresser, doing two things that require a knife. Every branch that doesn’t bear fruit, the Father removes, cuts away; and every branch that does bear fruit the Father prunes, so that it may bear more fruit. There is something satisfying about pruning and trimming away the dead limbs and branches of a bush or tree. By pruning the plant, the old unproductive limbs are removed, making room for new growth, and then the desired shape can be formed. “Pruning” can take various forms but is often a painful experience. Jesus is saying if we are to stay “in Him” on a daily basis, we must have our lives pruned just as the gardener prunes a vine.
Friends in Christ, I can sense Jesus saying, “I am the true vine. There are other vines, but I am the true one. You, my disciples, are the branches on my vine. God, my Father, is the one who looks after my vine and prunes the branches. You are connected to me; we are in an intimate relationship. If we do not stay connected, branch to vine, you will begin to die and stop bearing fruit. If that happens, my Father the vine dresser will prune you from my vine and throw you into the fire.”
I believe our daily faith walk should be all about opening our very souls to the divine gaze and the “pruning knife” of our Father who desires for us to be like His son Jesus. This divine pruning involves a process of daily conversation with God and surrendering to His will. It is the stripping away of ourselves until there is nothing left except love for God. We must not expect immediate fruits, however, fruits will occur from a mature and intimate relationship with God.
Acts 9:26-31; Ps 22:26b-126.96.36.199-32 (R.26a); 1 Jn 3:18-24; Accl Jn 15:4a.5b; Gosp Jn 15:1-8 FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
1. Tell God to prune the “branches” of your life that are growing in the wrong direction.
2. Pray for the grace to be determined to stay connected to the Vine (Jesus) so that you can produce the abundance of fruits He desires for you.
Exercise: Examine your life, and ask for divine pruning in any area you deem necessary.
Meditation: I Tim. 2:1-4.
Fifth Sunday of Easter