Fifth Sunday of Easter
April 29, 2018
Readings of the day: RB 71 Mutual ObedienceMass: Ac 9:26-31; Resp Ps 22; 1 Jn 3:18-24; Jn 15:1-8
I AM THE TRUE VINE, AND MY FATHER IS THE VINE GROWER.HE TAKES AWAY EVERY BRANCH IN ME THAT DOES NOT BEAR FRUIT,AND EVERY ONE THAT DOES HE PRUNES SO THAT IT BEARS MORE FRUIT.
Rooted in the VINE, CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD, we are pruned by life in community. One-way pruning happens in a monastic community is through mutual obedience, detailed in today’s reading from the Holy Rule. There, St Benedict writes, ‘Obedience is a blessing to be shown to all, not only to the abbess or abbot but also to one another as sisters or brothers, since we know that it is by this way of obedience that we go to God.’ Furthermore, ‘younger monks should obey their seniors with all love and concern.’ In Christian community, we are called to love and respect one another and strive to live in the peace of the Risen Christ. We do this by listening to one another and learning to be open to those with whom we live—to open our hearts and minds to other ways of doing things; to other ways living and moving in the world; to a variety of personalities. This takes the pruning of our rough edges that can come in the form self-centeredness, ‘my way or the highway’ or ‘it’s all about me’ aspects in all of us. Jesus Christ commanded us to love one another and remain in HIM. The FATHER will prune us through our life with others. This will require us to get out of our comfort zones and grow in self-knowledge. In this way, though, we will bear much fruit. ‘Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.’As a tree’s many branches come from the one root, so do many virtues come forth from love alone. The branch which is our good works has no sap unless it remains attached to the root of love.
(Pope St Gregory the Great)The common life, whether in the family, the parish, the religious community or any other, is made up of small everyday things. This was true of the holy community formed by Jesus, Mary and Joseph, which reflected in an exemplary way the beauty of the Trinitarian communion. It was also true of the life that Jesus shared with his disciples and with ordinary people.
(Gaudete et Exsultate, 143)I AM THE VINE, YOU ARE THE BRANCHES.WHOEVER REMAINS IN ME AND I IN HIM WILL BEAR MUCH FRUIT,BECAUSE WITHOUT ME YOU CAN DO NOTHING.