Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 15,1-8

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 clean already, by means of the word that I have spoken to you.

Remain in me, as I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself, unless it remains 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 thrown away like a branch -- and withers; these branches are collected and thrown on the fire and are burnt.

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for whatever you please and you will get it.

It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit and be my disciples.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The second part of Jesus’ farewell speech to the disciples begins with today’s Gospel. He has already spoken of the communion with his followers that is made real through love and the Holy Spirit. He is now using the image of God as a vine-grower, the Son as the vine, and the disciples as branches to try to describe the circle of love that unites the disciple to him and to the Father. The image of the vine (and the vineyard) is used several times in Scripture to describe the relationship between the Lord and his people. This time, however, the vine is not the people of Israel, but Jesus himself. He is the "true vine" that produces good fruit and gives life. The communion between Jesus and the Father is the source of Jesus’ very life and the origin of all that he does. He came down from heaven to earth to do the will of the Father. And the will of the Father is for Jesus to unite the disciples to himself so that they might participate in the love that he shares with the Father. Jesus begins by saying: "I am the vine, you are the branches." He uses this image because he wants the disciples to understand the kind of relationship he is establishing with them: their relationship is so close that they make one thing with him. Indeed the branch can live and bear fruit only if it is united to the vine, otherwise it would dry and die. That is how essential it is for the branches to be joined to the vine. This is why Jesus continues: "Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing." There is no other path for the disciple besides strong communion with the Teacher. And the way to preserve this communion is explained by Jesus himself when he says: "If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you." The term "abide," which is used twelve times in the Gospel passage we have heard today and will hear over the next two days, is followed by the expression, "bear fruit", which is used eight times. Disciples who listen to the Word of God with an attentive heart will naturally bear fruit. This is the way to give glory to God. In fact, Jesus says: "My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples." The disciple is not so much someone who accepts a doctrine, but someone who remains bound to Jesus with love, just like a branch to a vine.