Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle B

Fifth Sunday of Easter

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 John 15:1-8

"I am the vine, you are the branches"

Today's Gospel offers us a beautiful image of our union with Christ: "I am the vine, you are the branches". The disciples of Jesus are to be united with him and draw life from him just as Jesus himself is united with the Father and draws life from him. Based on this image, Jesus invites us: "Make your home in me, as I make mine in you". The relationship he offers is one of an abiding, permanent presence of one person to another, a relationship of intimate indwelling and familiarity, like two friends present to one another in listening, understanding and loving response.

This relationship is intimate and personal with each individual and, at the same time, a relationship which is communal - drawing together all his disciples into the one vine. Christ is the vine of which we are the branches. He is the whole vine of which we are a part. This close union between Christ and his followers is not restricted to saints and mystics; it is the very source of Christian life for all of us. We have been grafted into the vine; the life of the vine is our life; we are one with and one in Christ. We have here a striking image of the Church, the community of believers in whom Christ lives and through whom he continues to be present in the world.

And he expects his presence in us to be fruitful - in our own ever-deepening personal relationship with himself; in a broadening spirit of community among all of us who share his life; and in our individual and communal love and service of a world in need. He entrusts to us, his Church, the responsibility of being the visible and tangible expression of his continued presence in and love for the world in which we live.