(Acts 9:26-31; 1Jn 3:18-24; Jn 15:1-8)
We see how important we are to Jesus, and we see how necessary and sufficient He is to each of us. As the branch receives life from the tree, it is expected to produce fruits that will showcase the greatness and value of the tree. That is why the 2nd reading says LOVE is the fruit we bear as branches of Jesus the Vine! “We should believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as He has commanded us.” By faith, we abide in Him and receive the support and nourishment to bear the fruit of love. Love for one another is the sweet wine; it is that BEAUTY that the branch adds to the tree of life. This love that ‘tastes’ and announces Jesus can only come from those who abide in Him, who is firmly rooted in Him as the trunk of their existence.
It is through faith that we grafted into Christ Jesus as His branch. We see in the first reading how this takes a practical approach to the life of the Church. As we are welcomed into the life of the Church, the Body of Christ through Baptism, the faith of the Church that binds us together equally binds us with Christ Jesus. After his conversion, when Paul first came to Jerusalem, the disciples were reluctant to welcome him into their fold. Barnabas intervened and introduced him as a believer and they welcomed him. The Church continued to grow, “Walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit it multiplied.” Each of us has been given different gifts and talents as branches of the Vine. When we apply these ‘resources’ to good use, bearing fruits of righteousness, we grow and strengthen the body of Christ. This, too, is how we share love and attract others to abide firmly on Jesus, the True Vine.
Therefore, the True Vine will always have branches for the Church is always alive as the Body of Christ. But, how can one be a true branch of the True Vine without sharing the communion of faith with other branches of the same vine? Most importantly, we abide in Christ Jesus when His words abide in us, we live by it and with it. In doing so, we win souls for Christ and introduce others to the body of Christ as branches grafted in Him, just as Barnabas did. “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.” Amen.
Fr Jude Chinwenwa Nwachukwu, C.Ss.R
Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church,
Sunday May 2nd, 2021.