Fifth Sunday of Easter

Jesus in this gospel, draws on a sight familiar to His listeners– the grapevines that grew all over Palestine– to teach them about the mystical relationship He desires between Himself and believers.  Notice that Jesus does not say that He is the trunk; He is rather the whole vine.  We are the branches that make up the vine.  We receive life from Him not by being merely connected to Him; we share in His life by becoming part of Him.  Jesus, not only gives us life; He lives life in us, so that we are fully united with Him and live in Him.  When we are united with Jesus in Faith, we actually live with His life and love with His love.

The source of this life is the Father, the vine-grower.  He “planted” Jesus in our world so that we could share His life and produce the fruits of love, and He “tends”  the vine by guiding Jesus toward His final loving sacrifice.  The wise vine-grower knows that a vine requires careful pruning to be fruitful.  The fruit bearing branches must be cut away to produce more fruit.  Vines allowed to grow without pruning will produce smaller and smaller grapes as the vines gradually return to their wild state.   The pruning represents the trials and suffering required of those who unite their lives with the loving and total sacrifice of Jesus.

This mystical union between Jesus and believers is expressed by the word translated as “remain” or “abide” : “Abide in me as I abide in you ”(Verse 4).  It suggests a deeply personal and lasting union of lives.  The Branches abide in the vine so that they can bear fruit; the believer abides in Jesus to produce the lasting fruit of unselfish love.

God Bless,

Msgr. Powell