‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty.’
Today’s readings remind us that when, like St Paul, ‘we believe in the name of Jesus Christ’, we accept the intimate relationship to which God invites us. We become branches of the true vine, Jesus Christ.
The Gospel shows the amazing intimacy that Jesus offers through the wonderful image of the vine and branches. Having Jesus, the true vine, live within our hearts, we as his disciples, the branches, will bear fruit; cut off from Jesus, we can do nothing at all. Jesus reveals his Father as the vinedresser, tending to us with love, and sometimes pruning us so that we can produce more plentiful fruit.
In the Second Reading, John reminds us that by believing in Jesus Christ, and loving one another, we are doing what God wants, and that God lives in us through the gift of the Holy Spirit. He also reassures us that we have nothing to fear in God’s loving presence. We get an indication of the fruit that Jesus speaks of when John tells us that our love needs ‘not to be just words or mere talk, but something real and active.’
We see an example of this in the First Reading, where Saul proves his love for Jesus by preaching about him to the community. The apostles come to accept him and the local churches begin to put down roots and grow, drawing now from a new source of life: the Holy Spirit.
The Psalm, part of which we heard on Palm Sunday, and which Jesus prayed on the cross, closes today with words of the Lord’s love, generosity and faithfulness. We are all invited to worship and serve him.
During the week, I may like to ponder the relationship God longs to have with me, and the fruit he enables me to bear.