Fifth Sunday of Easter
Unity and faithfulness are very important in each culture, community and society for their development and protection. Theologically, these terms are explained as a vine tree and its branches, but they are used as metaphors in order to show God’s love, blessing and kindness.
In the Old Testament there are numerous passages which refer to the people of Israel as a vine tree. They were constantly reminded that Jehovah (God) brought them out of Egypt and that they were planted by His right hand in the Promised Land. They were given a special privilege to remain united and faithful to God by obeying His commandments but, unfortunately, they were unfaithful and unfruitful people. Therefore, Jesus said in the Gospel of St. John (Ch. 15), “I am the true vine and My Father is the vinedresser”. His followers must ‘abide’ in Him if they are to ‘bear fruit.’ The Jews were cut off from God as He wanted His followers to continue to have unity and faithfulness with His Son. The fruit of the vine is the source of life and Jesus is the source of eternal life and salvation.
Abiding in Jesus allows us to pray with great confidence and gives us the experience of unity and faithfulness with God. That is why Jesus teaches His disciples that His relationship with them will not end after His death, but He will remain with them always. Unity between He and His disciples is the basis for their ability to evangelize. Similarly, through this unity and faithfulness, they may receive the Gifts of the Holy Spirit with more strength and power.
Today, we need unity of faith and oneness in the universal Church. The faith and spiritual life of each person has been affected, challenged and discouraged. Therefore, do not lose your faith and unity, continue to pray and receive the Holy Eucharist. Through the Eucharist Jesus dwells in us, remains with us and transforms us so that we might bear fruit in His name. He is the true vine and we are His branches.
Fr. Dominic Ishaq, JCD