Gospel text (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. If 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.”
As we have already meditated on this Gospel last Sunday, I invite you to discover the fruit of this divine dwelling in the hearts of men, which is found in the first reading. The dwelling of God in our hearts helps us to act according to God's will, not by human impulse. Paul and Barnabas were convinced that circumscribing is not a necessity to give glory to God. Yet they chose to pray and consult the apostles.
Very often, we are result or success oriented. We wish to accomplish some good work and desire to be acknowledged. Though this is not bad in itself, the better way as Christian is to search what God wishes at a particular time and event. Since God of goodness is able to transform even our bitter or painful experience in to some miraculous saving, with a happy ending in the future, we are called in faith to trust and listen to God and to God’s people.
This approach of Paul and Barnabas helps us to act in a way that is consistent with the Christian faith: prayer and dialogue. When a man of faith is confronted by daily difficulties, after having put all his knowledge and intelligence to work, he will accept not only the difference and will be able to welcome the points of others, even his failures. He will always seek the divine presence that unites all the elements of life and the path that God will propose to him. In so doing, through his human actions, as a faithful disciple of God, he will produce the fruits desired by the Lord.
Action of the day: Seek the divine will.
«Remain in me, as I remain in you»
Fr. Antoni CAROL i Hostench
(Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain)
Today, once more, we may see Jesus surrounded by the Apostles in an atmosphere of especial intimacy. He is giving them what we could consider as his final recommendations: what is normally said in the last moment, in the last farewell; that which has an especial force, as if it would be the last will.
We imagine them in the cenacle. Jesus has washed their feet there, has announced them again He must go, has transmitted them his command of fraternal love and has consoled them with the gift of the Eucharistic and the promise of the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 14). And, well ahead this 15th chapter of John's Gospel we now find the exhortation to unity within charity.
Our Lord does not hide to his disciples all the dangers and difficulties they will have to face in the near future: “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” (Jn 15:20). But they should not be intimidated nor overwhelmed by all the hate they will find in this world: Jesus renews his promise of the arrival of the Protector, while assuring them they may ask and they will be given. Finally, the Lord prays for them —for all of us— to the Holy Father during his priestly prayer (cf. Jn 17).
But our danger does not come from outside, though: the worst menace may arise within ourselves when we fail to respect the fraternal love among the members of Christ's Mystic Body or the unity with the Head of that Body. The recommendation is clear: “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.” (Jn 15:5).
The first generations of Christians managed to keep a very clear conscience of the importance of remaining united through charity. Here is the testimony of saint Ignatius of Antioch, one the Fathers of the Church: «Therefore run together as into one temple of God, as to one altar, as to one Jesus Christ, who came forth from one Father, and is with and has gone to one». And here is also an indication from the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Christians: “Do whatever he tells you.”