Tuesday 3 November 2015

5th Sunday of Easter, year ’B 5e dimanche de Pâques, année ’B’

“It is to the Glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit and be my disciples.”

Ac. 9, 16-31 Ps. 21 1 Jn. 3, 18-24 Jn. 15, 1-8

5th Sunday of Easter, year ’B

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. every branch in me that bears no fruit he cuts away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes to make it bear even more. you are clean already, by means of the word that I have spoken to you.”

On the hillsides of Palestine, every condition is fulfilled for the vines to bear good fruit. The First Covenant speaks of the vine and the vine dresser- he is so “in love” that he plants a marvelous plant. He digs a ditch so that wild beasts don’t come and destroy it. He surrounds it with tender love, waiting for good grapes! The prophet adds : All he got was bad vinegar! It was not all dry ; the more the vineyard was dense, the less it bore fruit, and in fact all that could be found were shriveled and bitter fruit. For Jesus’ disciples, this image of fruit speaks to them very much. Indeed, in each of our lives it can be full of moments where the choices we had made were fruitless and they shriveled our hearts. So what we have to do is burn them up in the Merciful fire of God’s Love. If we are ready to serve and love more, we offer ourselves up to God’s Love to be purified. We have been grafted upon this new Plant, we are the Vine of Jesus. It is Christ’s sap. When we receive Him in the Eucharist He renews us : ’Every branch that does bear fruit, my Father prunes, to make it bear even more.’ Jesus says ’I am the true Vine.’ The Son of the Father and of Mary, Jesus, is part of our humanity. Out of roots that could bear thorns, God announces a renewed love. Being grafted to Jesus brings about a ’new’ fruit, magnificent ’roses’ in the place of thorns. This Word brings to life the divine life which God has sown in our hearts.

“You are clean already, by means of the word that I have spoken to you.Remain in me, as I in you.As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself, unless it remains part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing.”

The Word of God cuts clean; it is the Word of Jesus.We have become his vine shoots, where the sap circulates freely, bearing beautiful fruits. Jesus is describing the believer who dwells in Him and in whom Jesus can dwell. He dwells, and his Word is at work, anchored in his Love. Jesus took the cup of bad vinegar, the cup of curses. Out of it, he made wine for a wedding feast! The Paschal event opened up Heaven, making it possible that a new relationship of Love could come about

With God and with our brothers.’ You are the branches.’ The root of the vine is hidden, you can’t see it, but the branches grow forth, bearing fruit: this is fraternal charity. Once the vines are in spleandour, all we see are the grapes. Ever since out baptism, we have been ’grafted’ on Christ. When Jesus comes to us, it is for a complete renewal. We draw our sap from God’s Heart.

“You are clean already by means of the word I have spoken to you.”

“Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a branch-and withers; these branches are collected and thrown onto the fire and are burnt. If you remain in me and my Words remain in you, you may ask for whatever you please and you will get it. It is to the Glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit and be my disciples.”

When , in our lives, God’s Love is not met with refusal, and when His Presence is welcomes, His fruits are poured down in abundance : the believer who becomes a disciple of Jesus can be strengthened through the requests he makes to Jesus, for he lives already by Him, God’s Love is stronger than anything that might pass through his heart. Jesus made the choice to dwell within us, he dwells in truth in each one of us. He carries us, like the vine carries the branches, in an invisible way that is hidden. His ’roots’ are in the Father’s Heart. It is from here that he receives all life. In this way, we are carried in Love. In order to become perfect, Love requires reciprocity. The Father surrounds his Child with Tenderness : ’As I remain in you, remain in me.’ We bear fruit to the extent that we remain in God.

Let us ask for the grace to believe in the Overabundant Love God offers us.