FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER YEAR B – 27th / 28th April, 2024

The gospel reading reminds us that as baptised Christians we are not just intimately interlinked but that the source of our unity is the Risen Christ. As limbs and leaves and sap of the same vine, we simply cannot survive in isolation. The vine image is an image of life and growth, of colour and vibrancy. It holds the promise of a life-sustaining grape harvest that is ultimately transformed into wine, the biblical symbol for joy.  The Johannine Jesus makes the claim: “I am the true vine/vineyard” and God is the “vine grower”. He goes further: “I am the vine/vineyard and you are the branches”. The potency of this image resides in the fact that a vine without branches is inconceivable. It draws us into the mystery of the mutual interchange of life between us and the risen Christ, into the mystery of God. It also invites us to acknowledge our interconnection with the whole of the Earth community, to nurture the wonderful biodiversity of our planet, and to accept the inevitability of “pruning” if we are to “bear fruit” and “become disciples”.