Today we hear Jesus’s last I AM statement in John’s Gospel: “I am the true vine.” As with last week’s Christological statement, we can fall into the trap of mishearing today’s Gospel as a judgment of those who aren’t already part of the vine and a comfort for those who are. God’s Word will not let us get away that easily.
The emphasis in this reading and throughout John’s Gospel is on the unity of the disciples with Jesus and with one another. If we disconnect our love for Christ from our love for the diverse “community of strangers” that is the church, we have cut ourselves off from the Vine.If we branch out on our own, seeing our faith as an individual guarantee of salvation instead of the radical call to solidarity with God’s most precious ones—the poor, the marginalized, the ones left to die—then we have severed… Click To Tweet
If we branch out on our own, seeing our faith as an individual guarantee of salvation instead of the radical call to solidarity with God’s most precious ones—the poor, the marginalized, the ones left to die—then we have severed ourselves from the Gospel of Christ.
Our love for Christ will be measured “not in word or speech but in deed and truth” (second reading). Let us cling to the Vine, recognizing our need for one another, and let the Word of God prune away the diseases of racism, indifference, selfishness, and pride, so that we may bear good fruit and glorify the Father by our lives.
This post was first published in “GIA Quarterly: A Liturgical Music Journal.”
Image credit: Photo by Salomé Guruli on Unsplash.
Read more reflections on the Sunday readings here:
- The Spirit of Truth will not be silenced
- The Spirit’s Driving Wind
- We are made holy
- Love, plain and simple
- Let us cling to the Vine