The vine and the branches

May 3, 2014 – 5th Sunday Of Easter

Acts 9:26-31
1 John 3:18-24
John 15:1-8
Fr Fernando Torres, CMF
Claretian Publications

We all have experienced friendship. There are people with whom we have contact everyday, go out for a walk or have fun. But that does not mean that we are friends. There is a deeper relationship with a friend, something that goes far beyond the fact that we might not be able to see each other frequently.

Between friends there is a deep and strong bond. Being friends is more than just having some fun together. Remember the prodigal son who, when he left with his part of the inheritance, had many friends but as soon as the money ran out, he was left alone. Real friends are something else. Friends make contact and share their deepest feelings, both good and bad. Among friends there is no need for words sometimes. Friends understand each other with just a simple gaze.

The gospel today speaks to us about our relationship with Jesus. It gives us a concrete example about it: the vine and the branches. The branches have life only as long as they are united to the vine. But we could also say what Jesus does not say: without the branches, the vine will never bear fruit. What unites the vine and the branches is the current of sap that transports life constantly from one to the others. We cannot see the sap by looking at the vine. It runs inside the trunk and the branches. But not even when a branch is cut can we see the sap. And yet, it is there. A branch that separates itself from life dries up and dies. As Jesus says, it is cast to the fire.

Today Jesus asks us to maintain that deep relationship with him, as the vine and the branches, just like good friends. He does not ask us to spend our whole day praying in church. Friends are no more so because they are always together. What Jesus asks us is to maintain that deep bond, to allow the sap to come inside us and to give us the life we need to give fruit.

What fruits? As the second reading says, the fruits will be fulfilling his command, that is, loving one another. This is the fruit we must give: fruits of love for the life of the world. We must try to make others feel appreciated and valued, welcomed with mercy and understanding; we must try to sow peace and calm around us; we must give up any violence in ourselves; we must be honest in our work. These are the fruits we will give if we keep united to Jesus. And we need to remember that we must love in truth and works rather than just in words alone.

For reflection
-How does being united to the vine, which is Christ, translate into my daily life?
-How do you feel that you keep that deep relationship with Jesus that allows you to give fruits of love?
-How do you express my love for those around me? How have you given up any temptation to violence in yourself?

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