Fifth Sunday of Easter

Acts 9:26-31; 1 John 3:18-24; John 15:1-8 (Year B)

“My children, our love is not to be just words or mere talk, but something real and active; only by this can we be certain that we are children of the truth” (1 John 3:18-19).

The First Letter of St John describes love as Christ’s living presence in the lives of believers. To believe that he is risen cannot become a matter of words alone. It must become life’s driving force, expressing itself in a love that truly bears witness to his risen life. “His commandments are these: that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and that we love one another. Whoever keeps his commandments lives in God and God lives in him.”

Jesus used the vine and its branches to illustrate the reality of a life lived in him. The vine is the life force that sustains the branches. As spring approaches, it has the power to overcome the stunted growth of the past. What has perished in the winter is cut away, making way for new and irresistible growth. “I am the true vine, and my Father the vine dresser. Every branch that bears no fruit he cuts away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes to make it bear even more.”

The production of grapes is not the work of a moment. It takes years, even generations of loving attention. To look at a Palestinian vine in early spring is to see something seemingly dead on the ground. Only the closest attention reveals the buds of new growth that herald a rich harvest.

​How to continue reading…

This article appears in the Catholic Herald magazine - to read it in full subscribe to our digital edition from just 30p a week

The Catholic Herald is your essential weekly guide to the Catholic world; latest news, incisive opinion, expert analysis and spiritual reflection