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The vine and the branches

Gospel Reading: Jn 15:1-8
Jesus said to his disciples: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. 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. 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. 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. you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.

By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”

REMAIN IN ME, AS I REMAIN IN YOU
In the Old Testament, Israel is compared to a choice vine, taken from Egypt and planted in a vineyard especially prepared by the Lord (cf Ps 80:9). Alas, instead of producing sweet grapes for the Lord, Israel yielded sour fruits.

This is the metaphor of unfaithfulness and violence that characterized the people of Israel and Judah. The people were not clinging to the Lord who was their vine grower.

In Gospel, the metaphor of the grapevine serves to explain Jesus’ relationship with his own disciples. The vine is Jesus, and the branches are the disciples. To remain or abide in Jesus is to be attached to him in such a way that life would be impossible without him, just as a branch has no life and soon withers if it is detached from the vine.

A person not connected with Jesus may continue to exist, but the person lives a shadow life that has no real meaning and does not benefit anyone in a permanent way.

While the metaphor points to a close interpersonal bond with Jesus, however, it does not mean that one cuts off one’s relationship with others and thinks only of one’s private relationship with the Lord. For remaining with Jesus means living his love that is radically unselfish and so reaches out to others. Abiding with Jesus “bears fruit” as he does – he gives his life that others may live.

What kind of “fruits” does your present life produce?

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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.

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