5th week in Easter Time, Wednesday – 13th May 2020 — Gospel: Jn 15,1-8
Relationship of purpose and power
The overwhelming thrust of the passage is fruitfulness. The word ‘bear fruit’ appear six times in these eight verses. In order to underscore the call to exercise discipleship in the world, the image of ‘fruit bearing’ is emphasized. Naturally, fruit-bearing is not something that the branches do by force of will. The fruit happens organically because the vine is true and the gardener is good. Jesus imagines and promises a dynamic and changing life for the disciples, by saying ‘the branches do choose to abide’. The branches have to abide because without the vine, they are fruitless; they can do nothing. If they abide and Jesus’ words abide in them, then they can surely ask for the fruitfulness for which they have been pruned. This is a relationship of purpose and power. We bear fruit not by squeezing it out of ourselves but because we are extensions of the vine, pruned by the gardener-God who wants us to be fruitful and to be drawn into the unity of the Father and Son. God’s love, presence, and pruning are his gifts. Choice is ours to bear fruit (purpose) and to abide in him (power). If we want to bear Jesus’ fruit, then we choose to abide in him. The promise of ‘abiding’ in Jesus is not for its own sake, nor an end in itself. Bearing fruit is the condition of being disciples. Disciples are recognized by their fruits, i.e., by their actions (Mt 7,16.20).