"I Am The Vine; You Are The Branches."

Wednesday of Week 5 in Eastertide

Acts. 15:1-6 & Jn. 15:1-8

When Jesus tried to explain to His disciples Who He was, He used several different images … the Good Shepherd leading them, the Bread of Life feeding them, the Gateway to the Father and, in today's Gospel, He says "I am the Vine."

Perhaps this image was the most meaningful of all to the disciples. Vines grow plentifully in Israel and, in fact, in the Old Testament the vine was often used as an image of the nation of Israel. What Jesus wanted His disciples to understand was the closeness that exists between God the Father, Christ Himself and all those who choose to follow Him. Those who become Christians become part of one living organism, sharing in the spiritual life of Christ. He is the plant itself and we are the branches into which His life flows.

The growth and development of the vine is not to be restricted, but encouraged to spread far and wide. In today's first reading we see how some of the early Jewish converts objected to uncircumcised pagans being admitted to the Church. But Jesus makes it clear that the vine is to flourish by having new branches grafted onto it.

What Jesus wants for us, the branches of the vine, is that we should be vibrant. He wants us to realise that without Him we are dead branches because we are totally dependent on Him for our spiritual survival.

It is Jesus' wish that we should all be one, that we should be conscious of our one-ness with Him and with each other. Just as there is to be one fold and one shepherd, one gateway and one Eucharist which we all share, so there is only one vine to which we all belong.

Lord Jesus, strengthen us and work within us so that, through You, we can give glory to our heavenly Father.