1st reading: Acts 9:26-32: Barnabas explained how the Lord had appeared to Saul on his journey. Jesus is the vine.
Resp.Psalm:21(22):26,28,30-32: You, Lord,are my praise in the great assembly.
2nd reading: 1John 3:18-24: The commandments of faith and love.
Gospel : John 15:1-8: I am the Vine, you are the branches.
It is traditional during the month of May, we try to deepen our devotion to Our Blessed Lady, although of course, devotion to Our Lady should be a daily feature of our spiritual lives, every single month of the year. The Mother of Christ should be a pervasive presence in our spiritual lives, a recurrent motif, woven into the fabric of all efforts to keep faith with Almighty God. We too must keep our faith deep and strong, real and active like Mary.
To be a real disciple is to be united with Jesus body, soul and spirit. Jesus says,”I am the Vine you are the branches cut out of me you can do nothing”, Jesus’ teaching on the vine and the branches isn’t like most of the parables in the Synoptic Gospels, which are usually stories with one or more spiritual points. Here, as in Jesus’ discourse on the Good Shepherd (10:1-18), we see an extended metaphor. Jesus draws our attention to a fruitful vine and then provides two primary applications for us to learn from – pruning the branches and abiding in the vine.
The Vine was one of the quintessential plants in Israel representing national peace and prosperity. Israel is also seen as a Vineyard. In the Song of the Vineyard (Isaiah 5:1-7), the vineyard is the “house of Israel”-yielding only the bad fruit of injustice and oppression. But in Day of the Messiah, this vineyard will flourish:
The Psalms, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Hosea, and Micah all use the figure of Israel as the Lord’s vineyard. Jesus himself carried on this identification of Israel as God’s vineyard in his Parable of the Tenants (Matthew 21:33-44; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-19) and Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16).
So for Jesus to say, “I am the true vine” (in the seventh and last of Jesus’ “I AM” sayings”,we see an announcement that, as the Messiah, he now becomes the true Israel, the true locus for God’s people. When you think about it, it is an amazing revelation! If Jesus is the true vine, then his Father is the vinedresser, the one who tenderly cares for the vine, cutting and pruning so that it produces the maximum amount of fruit possible. God’s “pruning” or correction/discipline is necessary so that our lives become more like Christ’s and bear the fruit of his character (15:2).
Read More: Expectations From Our Loved Oneshttps://www.angieisika.org/expectations-from-our-loved-ones/
Above all, by listening to and obeying Jesus’ words, we become cleansed (15:3) and our lives will bear fruit in his character (15:4).Jesus says If you abide in me, I will abide in you. Cut out of me you can do nothing. If we dwell in Christ and he dwells in us –a mutual indwelling. We are not alone! (15:5).When we try to accomplish spiritual work in our own strength the result is small. We can do nothing that has a lasting result without relying on Jesus’ strength through us. We must practice dependence on him, not independence from him (15:5a).
One of the blessings of abiding in Christ and letting his words and character infuse us, is answered prayer, since we’ll be much more likely to be praying according to his will (15:7). Let thy will be done and of course, the fruit Jesus grows in us will consists of godly character, as well as effectiveness of whatever mission he calls us to (15:8).We’ve been chosen by God and appointed to produce lasting fruit for his Kingdom and for that to happen we must remain in Him. (15:16). Abiding in Christ will simply mean loving him, which results in willing obedience to his commands (15:10).
Jesus doesn’t want us to operate as unthinking servants, but as friends, willing and knowledgeable participants in growing his Kingdom (15:14-15). Do not be afraid of your worries or your past mistakes. Trust in his evergreen, ever fresh ingredients of everlasting life that is, the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Plus, the promises of those who hope in Him. Encourage those who do good works like Barnabas and keep living the Word of God and let the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit shine forth in you. Amen.
Wishing the Best of the Day!
FR. JOSEPH OSHO, OSJ.