Bearing Fruit In Jesus Christ, Our True Vine
Readings: 1st: Acts 9-26-31: Ps 21, 26-32; 2nd: 1Jn 3, 18-24; Gos: Jn 15, 1-5
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
On this fifth Sunday of Easter, the church reminds us that Christ is the true vine, and we are his branches. As branches crafted on the true vine, we are expected to bear positive and good fruits in Christ.
In today’s first reading, one remarkable thing we see about Paul is that after his dramatic conversion his life changed completely. Immediately, he was transformed from Saul the persecutor, to Paul the preacher of the good news. He wasted no time in bearing fruit in Christ. This is because, his conversion was true and genuine.
The consequence of his true conversion and believe in Jesus Christ was a great harvest of souls which continues till today. He bore good fruits because he was a “deeply crafted and rooted branch” in Christ, the true vine. Paul bore abundant and lasting fruit through his works and charitable deeds.
In the Second reading, John reminds us that: “…our love is not to be just word or mere talk, but something real and active. Only through this can we be certain that we are the children of truth…” John seems to remind us of the saying that: “Action speaks louder than words.”
The word of God transforms us because it is real and active. So, we cannot love God or keep his commandments without concrete works of charity and mercy. Also, we cannot remain in Christ without bearing fruits as a mark of our union with him.
John reminds us that: Whoever keeps his commandments lives in God and God lives in him.” This simply means first, that the only way we can bear such fruit is by taking God’s commandment seriously. Second, what proves that we are really in Christ is our ability to keep his commandments. It is also our concrete expression of love for him and for others.
Today’s gospel is a call to strengthen our relationship with Christ in order to continue to live in Him. The type of relationship that should exist between us and Christ is illustrated using what is natural to us. That is, the relationship between a vine and it branches.
No branch can have life or bear fruit on its own, unless it is firmly attached to a tree. Likewise, in our spiritual life and journey as Christians, we cannot do without being firmly attached to Christ the vine, in whose name we were baptized. We are created, and called to remain in Christ for a purpose, and this purpose is, to bear durable fruits in him.
So, instead of a passive life, to be in Christ means to live an active and positive life characterized by charity, peace, holiness, pure reverence and love for God, and for our neighbors. In other words, it is possible to bear good fruits in Christ through a good and virtuous life.
Today, the church provides us the opportunity to reflect on our spiritual progress. How is my relationship with Christ, the true vine? Am I still living in him? Have I born any good fruit in Christ? Bearing fruit in Christ means growing spiritually and affecting others positively.
We cannot be in Christ for years and still suffer from spiritual lethargy or dwarfism. No, there must be progress in our union with Him. This progress must be expressed in our trust in him, in our better knowledge of him, and in our love for him and for others.
Finally, when like Paul, we believe in the name of Jesus Christ, God lives in us, and we live in him. We become branches of the true vine, Jesus Christ. Then with the psalmist, we can confidently sing: “You, Lord are my praise in the great assembly.” Alleluia!
Peace be with you!