This is a beautiful and evocative Gospel. The message is about Jesus as the VINE and we, as his BRANCHES. This is one of my favorite gospels: John 15: 1-8. As in previous times, I read this passage, I always marveled at words of ten repeated. May be this is John’s style to drive home an emphasis, his way of gently asserting his message. This time, I noticed the word “remain” and the many repetitions included. “Remain in me, as I remain in you.” “A branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.” “Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit.” “Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither.” “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.”
Here in this Gospel, can we not say that “remain” seems to be one of Jesus’ favorite word? But the word is not the main focus of our reading. It is rather used to support the main portrait given to us: the Vine and the Branches. We must remain in the Lord as the branches remain attached to the main vine. And for a purpose–a branch can bear fruit only if it receives nourishment from the vine. Detached from it, it is bound to die.
This is a strong reminder for our Christian life. Jesus is inviting us to remain in Him, to be connected to Him. This is a call for intimacy, much like the picture given in last week’s description of the relationship between the shepherd and the flock. The vine and the branch are so intimate to each other that severing one from the other is but a loss. How do we experience this call for intimacy and closeness, this “remaining” with Jesus this Easter Time? We can, first of all, spend time with Jesus in prayer or in reflection on his word. How wonderful to see people drop everything they are doing and commit themselves to a few moments with God? I always admire people who drop by the adoration chapel, for they are connecting with the vine.
We also remain with the Lord when we devote to him our Sunday worship. At Mass, as individuals, as families, and as a community, we are here connected to God who makes our lives fruitful. This week, can we find time to remain with Jesus and his words? In our actions, are we fruitful because we act in accordance with our relationship with Him?
A PRIEST’S TACTLESS MESSAGE: A priest accompanied a convict to the electric chair. What will he say to console a man about to die? Goodbye? Take care? Visibly nervous himself, he was at a loss for the right word to say. Finally, as the convict got to the electric chair, the priest patted him on the head and blurted:
“Be strong...MORE POWER TO YOU!”
(Priests are only human.}
This week we start the month of May. On the 2nd, we have the memorial of St. Athanasius and the feast of Ss. Philipand James on the 3rd. First Friday devotions falls on the 4th and “Cinco de Mayo” is on the First Saturday. We do our regular 1st Saturday Mass for our adorers and devotees to our Lady of Fatima at 9AM. This is all for now, watch for the next bulletin. God Bless!
Your Priest-Servant and Parochial Administrator,