Reading: Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. John 15:4.
Good morning, happy Friday, and many blessings my dear family.
In today’s Gospel (John 15:1-8) Jesus introduces us to the great mystery of God sharing his life with us: I am the vine; you are the branches...My Father is the vine-grower. The vine is a special tree, where the distinction between the trunk and the branches is more difficult to make out than in other trees: God shares his own life with me. I spend time in wonder and thanksgiving, asking to be worthy of such grace.
Abide in me as I abide in you...those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. This is the advice Jesus gives us on the eve of his passion, his final message within the intimacy of the circle of his dearest friends. I let this invitation resound in my heart, asking for the grace to grow in my intimacy with Jesus my Savior so that my life will bear much fruit.
Today I am invited to recognize my close relationship with Jesus, which he compares to the relationship between a vine and the branches that grow on it. What does it mean for my life that the life of Jesus flows into me? What does it mean for me personally to know that I am as much a part of Jesus as the branch is a part of the vine? Are there things in my life that would be different if I consciously realized this? What are they? I reflect on these things; I talk to Jesus about them, and I ask the Holy Spirit to guide and enlighten me.
Christians have also been called ‘members of Christ’s body’; we are in mystical union with him – part of ‘the whole Christ’ (according to the Jewish notion of ‘corporate personality’). As such – in authentic union with Christ – we today at the same time both represent him to the world and also give glory to God. No wonder then that we are awarded with the assurance: “You may ask what you will, and you shall get it”.
The life of today’s saint, Bridget of Sweden (a Patron of Europe), is an example of deep union with Christ flowing into action in the world – in married life, in affairs of State, in practical charity: all rooted in commitment to Christ – which issued from mystical prayer.
Jesus is telling us that the very core of our existence is to be connected with him. He invites me to ‘abide’, to rest, to stay, to remain in him, so the divine life flows in and through me. Do I have a sense of this abiding in him?
Perhaps it is a challenge to me as I would like to be active and doing. I take some time to realize how it is that I need to be connected with the very life of Jesus, to know the beating of his heart, to receive life from him just as a great branch from the vine.
Through the analogy of the vine and the branches, Jesus invites us to be united to Him. We are the branches, and if we allow the life of the vine free reign in us, it will bear much fruit of patience, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. “A beautiful question for us Christians is this: do I abide in Jesus or am I far from Jesus? Am I united to the vine that gives me life or am I a dead branch, that is incapable of bearing fruit, giving witness?”