Gospel reading: John 15:1-8
Jesus said to his disciples: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that bears no fruit he cuts away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes to make it bear even more. You are pruned already, by means of the word I have spoken to you. Make your home in me as I make mine in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit by itself, but must remain part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in him,
bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is like a branch that has been thrown away – he withers; these branches are collected and thrown on the fire, and they are burnt. If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, you may ask what you will and you shall get it. It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit, and then you will be my disciples.
Taking it from the perspective of Jesus – Can you remember the experience of parting with someone close to you (child, friend, co-worker) and as you did so sharing with them precious memories, wisdom and values, in the hope that it would stand the other in good stead going forward in life?
Or taking it from the perspective of the disciples – Perhaps we have had the experience of being with someone as he/she came to the end of their earthly lives, and as they did so, expressed their hopes for our future happiness and fulfilment, reminding us of our responsibilities, and encouraging us to remain faithful in love?
From either perspective – Remember the deep words spoken on those occasions expressing closeness, intimacy, friendship. “I am the vine and you are the branches.” Stories shared that recalled the journey made together through the ups and downs of life, and the growth experienced, “You are pruned already by means of the words I have spoken to you.” Remember the deep conviction that these bonds of love and friendship would survive any parting, even death itself, “Make your home in me as I make mine in you.”
Remember the challenge to be faithful to the values already lived together: faith in God – “the Vinedresser”; unity with Jesus, “the Vine” (what he stood for, how He lived – with humility, gentleness, compassion, pursuit of justice, defence of the poor etc); solidarity with one another – with the other “Branches”. “As a branch cannot bear fruit by itself but must remain part of the vine.” Remember the expressed hope and prayer that lives going forward would be full, fruitful and fulfilled. “It is to the glory of my father that you should bear much fruit.”