Thursday, May 11, 2006

5th Sunday in Easter

The readings for this Sunday can be found here.

There's a lot in these readings so I guess I'll just start with a quick thought on a verse from the gospel. Feel free to add more in the comments about any of the readings as you feel inspired.

"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." John 15:4

This seems like a clear warning against pride. All too often it can be easy to believe that what we accomplish is the fruit of our own labors when in reality we need to remember that what we have accomplished would have been impossible if we didn't have God. We cannot bear good fruit unless we remain in God. Anything we accomplish apart from God can only add to our pride and self reliance. What appears to be an accomplishment in our own eyes or in the eyes of the world can really be something that puts our soul in danger of "severing" its connection with the vine.

Sanctifying grace is an amazing thing. By it we share in the very life of God. The above verse seems like it is referring to this relationship when it says "remain in me as I remain in you." Our lives need to reflect Christ. The Holy Spirit lives in us in a very real way because of our Baptism (and subsequent confessions if we ever lose that original state of grace). Mortal sin severs that connection with the vine and is a real rejection of God's grace. It's really sad when one considers how mortal sin can appear more appealing to our wounded nature at times than God's infinite grace and mercy. It's even more amazing to reflect on the intimate relationship Jesus calls us to. We are part of His body, branches on the vine, we are called to a closer and more intimate union with Him than I think it is possible for us to imagine in this life.

Luckily God is there to nurture us and help us live on the vine. Jesus refers to the Father as the "vinegrower." With the Father of Mercies tending the vine we can be assured that our sins and failures will be forgiven if we decide to return to our loving Father with contrite hearts.

God bless,



Blogger British Jenny said...

I have a book called "St. John - texts and commentaries" and this is a sort of summary of what it says about this Sunday's gospel:

When Christ says that he is the true vine, he is saying that he has succeded the old vine (the origial chosen people). He goes on to say that to be fruitful we must be joined to the new, true vine. In other words it is no longer a matter of simply beloning to a community but of living the life of Christ, the life of grace, which is the nourishment. It passes life onto the believer and enables him to yield fruits of eternal life. In order to yeild this fruit we must posess a living faith in the form of deeds. To please God it is not enough to have received Baptism and to profess the faith externally; a person has to share in Christ's life through grace and has to cooperate with him in his work of redemption.
When Jesus speaks of pruning the vine he is explaining that God is not content with a half hearted commitment and therefore he purifies his own by means of contradictions and difficulties, a form of pruning, to produce more fruit. A life of commitment to and union with Christ goes beyond ones private life, it has to be focused on the good of others, and if this happens a fruitful apostolate is the result, for apostolate, of whatever kind it be, must be an overflow of the interior life. Laymen should not seporate their union with Christ from their ordinary life; but through the very performance of their tasks, which are God's will for them, actually promote the growth of their union with him.

-there, a conection of thoughts from a cool book-

8:43 PM  

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