WelCom May 2021
Gospel: John 15:1-8
Jesus said to his disciples: 1 ‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. 2 He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. 3 You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. 4 Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. 8 By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.’
Reflection on the Gospel of John 15:1-8
Dr Elizabeth Julian rsm
My tomatoes and peach tree bore fruit during late summer. They actually did something – unlike my struggling feijoa! They are meant to do something. We are meant to do something too. Today’s gospel tells us that as disciples of Jesus we are meant to bear fruit.
Bearing fruit is hard work – the tomatoes seemingly securely staked can be battered to death by the wind. Birds can attack the peaches. Sometimes for disciples bearing fruit can mean a lot of drudgery and boredom. The daily grind as well as the thankless toil and the disappointment of ‘crop failures’ so to speak, all take their toll. And the pruning and trimming of unproductive branches is painful. Being a disciple is not for the faint hearted! That’s where abiding in Jesus and remaining in his love is key.
We can bear fruit only by abiding or remaining in Jesus. The word appears eight times in these few verses. Jesus says he is the vine, we are the branches and God is the vine dresser.
The life of the vine is the life of the branches. Because Jesus lives in his branches and his branches live in his life, we the branches can do nothing apart from him.
We can’t go it alone, we’re in this together. We have to abide or remain in Jesus. We can all picture a grape vine with its almost indistinguishable branches laden with bunches of grapes.
A branch detached from the vine for whatever reason, or pruned, soon withers and dies. The life-giving sap dries up.
Abiding or remaining suggests a constancy of presence, an on-going relationship. And this, of course, is what prayer is all about.
Jesus says his words must remain in us and then we can ask for whatever we want.
What do I want to ask Jesus for right now? What do I want to ask him for myself, my family, my parish, my colleagues, my community, my country and our Covid-ravaged world?
What words of Jesus remain with me?