May 9, 2009


5th Sunday of Easter – B
John 15:1-8

Secret of A Fruitful Branch

In the short span of 5 verses (vs. 4-8), Jesus uses the word “remain” 7 times. The emphasis is clear. It is obvious that just as a branch cannot bear fruit apart from the vine, neither can we apart from Jesus.

But even when a branch is on the vine, there is no certainty that it will bear fruit. These branches would be cut off so as not to waste the vine’s energy. And for the branches that bear fruits, the farmer still has to prune it. Pruning means taking away what prevents the branch to be most productive, or prevents the fruits to be of best quality.

“The Greek verb used (for to prune) can also mean to cleanse.”[1] It is the same verb Jesus used during the washing of the feet when he says to Peter, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, but is entirely clean; and you are clean, but not every one of you” (13:10). And as disciples, we are pruned by Jesus’ words (15:3).[2]

So we have here the secret of a fruitful branch: to remain with Jesus, the vine, and to allow God, the vine grower to prune us with the words of the Son, Jesus, our Risen Lord.

[1] Winstanley, Michael. Symbols and Spirituality: Reflecting on John’s Gospel. Bolton, England: Don Bosco Publications; p. 155.
[2] Moloney, Francis J, SDB., The Gospel of John. Sacra Pagina Series, Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1998; p. 420.

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