Faith Daily | 18 May 2022
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p 512
who called your Church to witness
that you were in Christ reconciling the world to yourself:
help us so to proclaim the good news of your love,
that all who heart it may be reconciled to you;
through him who died for us and rose again
and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
GOSPEL for the Day: John 15: 1-8
”I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. 2He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 3You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 4Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 5I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. 6Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Jane Markotsis
In a show of love for his disciples Jesus gave his disciples some very lengthy series of instructions on the last evening before his crucifixion. Since the time was so short only vital matters were discussed. The discussion of this parable was an indication of its importance. The thought of pruning to enhance almost feels painful. Jesus made the new growth from pruning as an opportunity, an opportunity to show that God works to mould us and shape our lives and to give us direction to become the best we can.
Now the resurrected Lord addresses us. Twice he promises “I AM the vine.” And in that promise, something happens. There is an event in which we become something new as we are transformed by a new reality in which we are empowered and commissioned as disciples. The union we have with Christ is how we are transformed, and this comes about for the glory of God. Yet it also requires effort on our part to love and obey Christ. We cannot have a relationship with the Father without obeying Christ, and we cannot obey him without loving him and we cannot love him without his life in us. That Jesus is the true vine has to do with his relationship to the Father and what it reveals about the Father’s love. All that the Father is and does is now seen in this Jesus who is both the “Word become flesh” and the one whom God raised from the dead. Everything that the Father does, including his work of pruning and cleansing the branches, is tempered, and understood through the word that Jesus is and has spoken to his disciples.
Each of us is called to receive Christ as Lord and once we have made that initial declaration, we are directed to take our leading and our sustenance from Christ who is the vine. But our responsibility does not stop there. Our responsibility means engaging for ourselves as individuals and as the church in those activities and tasks that recognize and invest in the goodness of God’s love by spreading that love to the neighbour whom we are called to love.
What we think might be destroyed by pruning, gives it new life. New life like new light. Now the new light has come, and it has come for all of us. May this Easter season be a blessing for all people in their journeys as the hope that it represents speaks to all of our hearts. May it remind us that life itself stands among us. We do not have to be afraid. May it symbolize that what we thought held us back has been rolled away. Reality has changed. May it inspire us to give thanks for one another and to pledge to work even more closely as a family in the days ahead, for when the light comes, it comes for one and all. As Jesus proclaimed: I Am the “True” Vine You Are the Branches.
Gracious God, your love nurtures and strengthens us to bear fruit. May we remain in your love, and so become the first fruits of a humanity made new, bearing a rich harvest of holiness and peace. We ask these and all things through your son Christ Jesus, one with you and the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen