Vine and the Branches


May 17, 2017
Wednesday, 5th Week of Easter

1st Reading: Acts 15:1–6
Gospel: Jn 15:1–8

Jesus said to his disciples, “I am the true vine and my Father is the vine grower. If any of my branches doesn’t bear fruit, he breaks it off; and he prunes every branch that does bear fruit, that it may bear even more fruit.

“You are already made clean by the word I have spoken to you; live in me as I live in you. The branch cannot bear fruit by itself but has to remain part of the vine; so neither can you if you don’t remain in me.

“I am the vine and you are the branches. As long as you remain in me and I in you, you bear much fruit; but apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not remain in me is thrown away as they do with branches and they wither. Then they are gathered and thrown into the fire and burned.

“If you remain in me and my words in you, you may ask whatever you want and it will be given to you. My Father is glorified when you bear much fruit: it is then that you become my disciples.”

(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)

Mixing up two separate maxims, a friend hilariously came up with this hybrid: “To forgive is divine and you are the branches”. The first four words come from, “To err is human, to forgive is divine”, while the rest are from today’s Gospel reading. The adulteration is loaded with meaning. It proclaims that forgiveness is divine in nature. The first forgiveness recorded in human history is God’s offer of reconciliation to humanity. Without Him making the first move, we would have been lifeless, like branches cut off from the vine.

Jesus invited his followers to partake of His life by remaining in him like branches to a vine.     The invitation came with this promise: “If you remain in me and my words in you, you may ask whatever you want and it will be given to you.” Jesus was not playing politics when he dangled this promise.

After all, God will still remain God without humans. It was for pure love that he promised to accommodate not just human needs but also human wants. Doesn’t this run counter with experience of unanswered prayers? This promise has to be understood in the context of openness to God’s Will. He who remains in God will never ask for anything contrary to God’s Will. Thus, those who remain in God will always merit from the windfall of God’s generosity.

In attaching ourselves to the vine we might just blindly graft ourselves to whatever vine that offers happiness. We should be suspicious about happiness because it’s Satan’s master recipe. Go for joy, for it is God’s brand. In attaching ourselves to a vine, let’s make sure the vine is divine and we are the branches. Ah, the mix up again! – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM.

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