Fifth Sunday of Easter - 29th April, 2018

Liturgical Reflection

Acts 9:26-31   1 John 3:18-24   John 15:1-8
 
 

“I am the vine, you are the branches … abide in my love “


In these post Resurrection weeks of Eastertide several of our Gospel readings are from the Gospel of John. This Sunday and next week the Gospel will be from John’s discourse at the Last Supper, before the betrayal and execution of Jesus and his glorious resurrection.

 

 

Today we hear two teachings that are a wonderful metaphor for the Church and its program or lifestyle mandate for all who seek to follow Christ. First Jesus gives us the image of himself as the True Vine, his Father as the vine grower, with all of us as the branches of that vine. He also calls all of us to abide or remain in him as he abides in us.

Verna Holyhead reminds us of some Old Testament readings that portrayed Israel as the vine brought out of Egypt and planted by God, the Vinegrower, in its own soil (Ezek 17:6,8; Hos 10:1; Isa 5:1-7; Ps 80, 8-13). Such rural images would have been familiar to the Jewish people where vineyards, often small and well protected, were an essential part of first-century life. In a healthy vine the sap flows through the vine and it develops fruit-bearing branches and an abundant crop. As branches of the True Vine the sap of Christ’s love flows through each one of us, keeping us spiritually alive and able to live in love.

When we are living with the awareness of Christ’s love within us we are able to bear much fruit in both spiritual and corporal works of mercy. Love of God and love of neighbour will be manifest if we treasure and live Christ’s words. Today we are also reminded that without Christ we can do nothing on our own. He promises also that if we are nourished through his teachings, then, whatever we ask for will be done. Our world seems to be crying out for nations everywhere to protect, not plunder, our planet and for all of us to “hear the cries of the poor” and do what we can, wherever we are, to become channels of Christ’s healing love.

“Help us, O Christ, to abide in your love by nourishing our inner life and truly honouring the intimate union that you offer to each one of us.”

“Give us courage, Lord, in our times of being pruned,
and give us compassionate hearts that will be sensitive to those in need.”

Denise Sullivan OP