Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Today the Gypsy people, including those of Islamic faith, celebrate Saint George, who died a martyr to free the Church.

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

Today’s Gospel begins with the second section of Jesus’ farewell discourse to the disciples. He has already spoken of the communion with his own that is fulfilled through love and the Holy Spirit. Now with the image of the Father as vine grower, the Son as the vine and the disciples as the branches, Jesus wants to describe the circularity of love that unites the disciples with him and the Father. This image of the vine (and the vineyard) is used many 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 fruits and gives life. The communion between him and the Father is the source of his own life and the origin of his works. He has come down from heaven to earth to fulfil the will of the Father. And the will of the Father is that Jesus--uniting the disciples to himself--makes them a part of the same love that he has with the Father. He begins his discourse by saying, “I am the vine, and you are the branches.” With this image he wants the disciples to understand well the type of bond that he establishes with them: the relationship is so close so as to form one being with him. In effect, the branch lives and gives fruit only if it remains attached to the vine; if it breaks off it becomes dry and dies. And so to remain attached to the vine is essential for the branches. For this 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 way for the disciple outside of a solid communion with the Teacher. And the way to conserve this communion is explicitly described by Jesus: “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 “to remain” is used eleven times in this Gospel passage. It is followed by the expression “to bear fruit,” which is used eight times. Bearing fruit is the result of listening to the Word of God with an attentive heart. And this is the way to give glory to God, as Jesus himself, emphasizes, “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.” The disciple is not so much the person who welcomes a doctrine but the one who remains bonded to the love of Jesus, exactly like branches to the vine.