5thwk of Easter Thurs.
Jn 15:1 – 8.
In ch. 14 of John the word was “I go”, Jesus was bidding farewell. Here in ch. 15, the key word is “remain”, referring to the intimate communion between Jesus and his disciples. The image that Jesus uses is that of a grape farm and the Father is the vine grower. The farmer wants fruits not verdant branches; and so he cuts off fruitless branches and prune the fruitful. In winter usually the vines are pruned so that by spring new branches come out followed by new leaves, then the tendrils and bunches. To prune is to take out the unnecessary elements in our life to facilitate advancement in our spiritual journey. This is what spiritual writers call detachment. We take out mahjong and tong-its, card reading and Feng Sui, jewelries and fancy clothes, ballroom dancing and catwalks that take us away from prayer life and apostolate. There are some painful pruning like giving up gossip, sharp criticism of others and rash judgment. To remain in Jesus include the exercise of humility, patience, and forgiveness of our offenders which include a lot of inner pruning of our selfishness and pride. “You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.” Let us be faithful to our household bibliarasal and Bible reflections and be pruned of many elements that can delay and even hinder our spiritual growth. All these plus our frequent use of the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist will make us remain in Jesus and Jesus in us. Then we can bear much fruit and the Father will be glorified.
“I am the vine, you are the branches.” The life that runs through the vine is the same that runs through the branches. Since the life in Jesus is divine, then it is his divine life that also runs through us; we call this Sanctifying Grace. The Father loves us so much that even while still living on earth we already share in his divine life. “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.” We become great intercessors before the Father because he sees Jesus in us. We should be convinced by now that our prayers for the sick members of our community have been heard and granted. Our prayers for the victims of calamity have been heard and granted. Our voices raised in prayer become the voice of Jesus himself interceding for us at the right hand of the Father. Let us treasure our Holy Hours, Rosaries in common, prayer meetings because where two or three are gathered together in Jesus’ name, there he is in our midst. “By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”
Fr. Bert Decena, OAR