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Homilies/Reflections

CHRIST THE TRUE VINE. A reflection for the 5th Sunday of Easter, Year B.
By Fr. Donatus Okeke
Thu, 06 May 2021

Readings: 1st: Acts 9:26-31; 1John 3:18-24; Gos: John 15:1-8
 
 
In today's liturgy, the Church reminds us of our total dependence on God. Today, we are called to enter into a deeper relationship with Christ. The relationship between the vine and it's branches is used to explain this. 
 
Jesus in today's Gospel, uses a well known agricultural imagery,  to help the people of his time understand and appreciate him. He calls himself the True Vine, the father is the vine dresser and we are the branches. A branch cannot survive on its own, not to talk of bearing fruits without attaching to the vine. A branch can never be independent, unless it is no longer a branch. Thus, Jesus categorically states: "cut off from me, you can do nothing". 
 
This reminds us of our need of Christ. Just as the fish cannot survive without water, we cannot survive in this world, without attaching ourselves always to Christ. We cannot claim to be independent of God as the modern man claims. Irrespective of our riches, popularity, education, position of authority or advancement in life, we still need Jesus Christ.We attach ourselves to Christ, when we profess absolute faith and confidence in him, when we allow him to be in charge of our daily activities and when we obey God's commandments. 
 
It is important to note that, the sure way of being attached to Jesus Christ is being involved in the Church. The Church is the visible True Vine (Christ). St. Paul calls Christ, the head of the body the Church (Col.1:18). We cannot be a branch of the True Vine outside the Church. We cannot claim to be more spiritual than the Church.These days many people no longer see the need of attending Church, and they claim that "uka di n'obi" (Church is in the heart). Some who claim to have received calling from the Holy Spirit, start up their own ministry. It is obvious that they are not attached to Christ the TRUE Vine. May be they have their own vines. Unfortunately, some gullible Christians go and attach themselves to these vines. Consider Paul in the First Reading, he had a personal encounter of the Holy Spirit, yet he worked within the confines of the early Christian community. Why erect your own church? 
 
The Father takes away any branch that is fruitless and prunes the fruitful one. As branches attached to the vine, Christ expects us to bear good fruits. God abhors being unproductive. Even, while attaching ourselves to Christ, we cannot be passive. We must show evidence of our attachment. St. John in the Second Reading, shows us a perfect way of bearing fruit - practical  love for one another. We bear fruit by our holy way of life, by alleviating the sufferings of others, speaking out in the face of social ills, saying no to corruption in all its forms, standing for the defenseless, in fact, by saying no to sin. 
 
Beloved in Christ, we must connect ourselves to Jesus Christ. Jesus in the Gospel assures us that, "If you abide in me,..., ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you." (1John 15:7). In this fifth Sunday of Easter, we are expected to produce visible fruits from the Easter blessings we received. Stay connected to Christ the True Vine!
May God help us!!!
 

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