5th Sunday of Easter
Reading I: Acts 9:26-31 II: 1 John 3:18-24
1 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
2 Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
3 You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
6 If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned.
7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.
8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.
Context: This passage begins a long monologue (Ch. 15-17) in the farewell discourse that Jesus delivered to the disciples in the Last Supper on the eve of His death.
(v.1) In the Old Testament, the vine often symbolizes the image of Israel (Is 5:1-7, Jer 2:21, Ezek 15:1-6). John used the word "true" in the context of a replacement as "true" bread (Jn 6:32) to replace manna. Jesus is the true vine, the vine that was planted, pruned and cared by His Father, the vine that carries life into the branches so that they can bear fruit. Jesus is the source of life, the fulfillment of all that Israel promised.
(v.3) The Greek verb "kathairein" has two meanings: to prune and to cleanse. The fruit-bearing followers have been cleansed by the word so that they can bear more fruit.
(vv.4-7) The expression "remain with" or "abide in" is repeated no less than 6 times in this passage. The demand for the intimate unity between his followers and Jesus is so urgent and necessary. This unity also establishes the confidence in prayer (v.7) .
(v.5) No purely human act can have any value for eternal life, unless it is done under the influence of grace.
One Main Point
Jesus demanded his followers to remain with Him since He is the source of life. Without Jesus one can do nothing but withered. Together with Jesus whatever one asks will be granted, whatever one does the Father will be glorified.
Where do I need to be pruned to bear more fruit? Am I bearing the fruit?
How do I abide in Jesus and He in me? What spiritual nourishment do I need in everyday life to remain with Him?
Where is the real bond between me and other people of the Church? Where is that unity missing? How do I strengthen these bonds?