Reflection for Fifth Sunday of Easter
One of the most popular tourist areas in the United States is the Napa Valley/ Sonoma County area of California. It is a beautiful area with hills and woods and rolling meadows. In the summer when many people go there to visit the wineries, the vines are luxuriant with foliage and developing clusters of grapes. After the grapes have been harvested, the vines are pruned extensively and it is hard to believe that these vines could ever produce fruit again. But they do; it is one of nature's miracles.
Jesus Christ obviously was familiar with viniculture, and so were most of his listeners. Pruning is an exact science, and is essential for maximum productivity, but it must be do in a knowledgeable and caring way or the vines will be useless. We can cut ourselves off from Christ by not listening to his words and by being preoccupied with the distractions and the tasks of the world. If we do that, Christ warns us, then we will become use, because without him we can do nothing.
In today's Gospel, Jesus is looking beyond the crisis of his death and resurrection to the situation of those who will be left behind. The disciples will have to work within the Christian community of faith so that all will remain in Christ and have the effect on the world which Christ intended. As these followers we are pruned by a God the father, they will grow and continue to bring forth good fruit. To bear fruit to live out the new life that has been given by Christ. The pruning which takes place in the life of the disciples is to integrate them further into the life of Christ, the Vine, and to remove all things which we prevent them from fulfilling the task give by Christ.
In a vineyard that is left untended, grapevines will grow along the ground, up tree, wherever they can take hold. But careful pruning involved attaching the shoots of the vines to wires or trellises in a systematic pattern. The basic of Christian fruitfulness is connection with the Vine, Jesus. When disciples bear much fruit , then God is glorified. Jesus glorified his Father by accomplishing his task; his followers will glorify God by doing what they have been common by Jesus to do.
John's community had come to recognize this. For them, the Christian group is to be distinguished by its active love. Lived in deed and truth, modeled on Christ. We are all closely united to Christ in following him in our community of faith. Our lives, our integrity, our faith, all reflect on our group. There is no such thing as a Christian loner one cannot work with Christ without working with other people; was sure all bran of the same vine - Jesus Christ!
God bless you all!
Your brother in Christ.