Fifth Sunday of Easter Acts 9:26-31; Ps. 22; 1 John 3:18-24; John 15:1-8
Of the many “I am” statements in John, the image of Jesus as the vine, the Father as the vine grower and we as the branch, is easy to visualize. If a branch is not fruit-bearing, it will be cut off from the vine. At some time in our lives, we have seen such a branch, barren and unfruitful. At some time in our lives, we may have been that branch, cut off from the source of our life, of our relationship with the Father and the Son. If that separation were to continue, we would wither and die. Fortunately for us, the Son, like the Hound of Heaven, pursues us down the nights and the days, until we are once more grafted onto the life-giving vine. St. Paul, once converted and connected to the life-giving vine, bears fruit beyond measure. Speaking boldly, his new life persuades the disciples that he is, in fact, a part of them, a healthy part, a fruitful branch whose preaching will go out to all the world and contribute to the building up of the Church. John, in his first Epistle, reminds us to live the truth taught to us, to follow the Commandments, to cooperate with the Spirit, so that we can, like Paul and like a fruitful branch, love God and each other. We can pray the alleluia verse because Christ has promised to remain in us as we remain in Him. Underserving of such blessings, we have only to thank God for such generosity, mercy, kindliness, and love which enable us to stay firmly united to the Vine. May the fruits of our lives mirror those of Dominic, Catherine and Mary Ann, as we continue to love God and others as we have been called to do. Sister Monica Paul Fraser, O.P.