Gospel Reflection for May 2nd – 5th Sunday of Easter 2021 By Br Michael Moore OMI
Connected to Jesus and each other
When Jesus spoke last week, he described himself as the Good Shepherd. This Sunday he uses another image that would have been very familiar to those who heard him. The gospel begins with Jesus saying, ‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.’ For most of us today, we know very little about grapes, vines or vineyards; but for the people at the time of Jesus, the language and image of the vineyard would have been very meaningful. The vine dresser or grower was a very important and prominent person in the community. They were not just an ordinary farmer. Wine was, and still is, a very important part of Jewish religious and family life. Grapes are not easily grown; they need special care and attention. The vinedresser sows the vines and cares for them for decades, if not their whole life. Each vine and vineyard is cared for individually. Each vine that produces the precious grapes is different and so needs special care and attention. When Jesus calls God the vinedresser, he is describing God in terms of his relationship with each of us. Just as the vinedresser is committed and dedicated to the care of the vines, so too is God with each of us.
The similarly between Jesus the good shepherd and Jesus the vine is closeness and intimacy. Both describe a very personal relationship between Jesus and each of us. Just as Jesus the vine draws life and energy from God and we are the branches connected to Jesus, then we are united to Jesus in the closest and most special of ways. Just as the branches cannot survive, grow and produce leaves and grapes, neither can we grow develop and mature as disciples unless we are connected to Jesus. As Jesus draws his life from God, so we in turn draw our life from him. We cannot grow in our daily and spiritual life without being closely linked and connected to Jesus. As Jesus the shepherds calls us to follow him, Jesus the vine invites us to be deeply connected to him. We cannot produce the fruits of discipleship by ourselves. Jesus never intended our way life to be lived individually or separate from him. As he says to each of us; ‘Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it is connected to the vine, neither can you unless you live in me… because a part from me you can do nothing.’
There is a consequence of us being connected to Jesus as the branches are connected to the vine; it implies that we are connected to each other as well. Being a follower of Jesus is personal, but it is never private. We do not come to Jesus on our own or by our own efforts. We come to Jesus with and through others. To be connected to Jesus means that we are also in union and in relationship with each other as brothers of sisters. We are called by Jesus to be concerned about each other as best we can in our homes and families, in our places of work, our neighbourhoods and in our parish communities. This is what it means to belong to the church, the people of God and the Body of Christ. By being united to Jesus and to each other, we are encouraged and enabled to produce fruits that will help the Kingdom of God to grow and flourish around us.
Given the past year that we have all experienced and are still going through in one way or another, we need each other more than ever. We need to realise that we are not on our own, nor can we remain isolated from each
other. As we remain close to and rooted in Jesus the vine, may we also reach out to others so that we can support and draw life from our friends, family and parish community.
– Br Michael Moore OMI
|Gospel of the 5th Sunday of Easter, May 2nd||John 15:1-8 ©|
I am the vine, you are the branches
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