Jesus Christ the True Vine
One of the main themes during the Easter season is how the risen Christ interpreted to His disciples the things referred to Him in all the scriptures (Luke 24:27, 45); i.e., how everything written about Him in the Law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled (Luke 24:44). Not only were the Suffering, Death and Resurrection of Christ referred to in the Old Testament; but also the “I AM” statements made by Jesus. In this reflection, let us look at one of the “I AM” statements of Christ.
In the Old Testament, Israel was referred to as a vine (Psalm 80:9–17; Jeremiah 2:21; Ezekiel 15:2; 17:5–10; 19:10; Hosea 10:1). We read in Psalm 80 that God brought a vine out of Egypt, He drove out nations and planted it; He cleared out what was before it; it took deep root and filled the land. (Psalm 80:9-10)
However, due to unfaithfulness and disobedience to God, this vine (Israel) became obnoxious to the Lord: “I had planted you as a choice vine, all pedigreed stock; how could you turn out so obnoxious to me, a spurious vine?” (Jeremiah 2:21) It brought forth wild grapes (Isaiah 5, Ezekiel 19:10) and became an empty vine (Hosea 10:1).
Therefore, when Christ said to His disciples, “I AM the true Vine (John 15:1),” He revealed to them that He is the true Source of life that the former vine lacked: faithfulness and obedience to God, and sincere love of God and neighbor. Jesus also said, “I am the vine, you are the branches” (John 15:5a); just as the vine is the source of life for its branches, all who abide in Christ derive true life from Him.
Jesus said, “Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing (John 15:5b).” Some Christians have interpreted “bearing fruit” as helping others. But bearing fruit involves more than just helping others. Bearing fruit involves being faithful and obedient to God and abiding in Christ. Jesus imparts grace to those who abide in Him, so that they may produce the fruits of holiness – that is, an increase in prayerfulness, mercy, love, humility, kindness, truthfulness, etc. and liberation from sinful habits.
Next Sunday, May 9, 2021, is Mother’s Day. Our church will celebrate the Feast Day of Our Lady of China with a special Mass and flowers for the mothers of our parish. If you have special intentions for the Mother’s Day Mass, please fill out the special envelope for Mother’s Day.
Archbishop Gregory John Hartmayer, OFM Conv., has announced that on Saturday, May 22, 2021, prior to the celebration of the Vigil of Pentecost, the general dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass will expire in the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
While the general dispensation is removed, there are specific persons for whom the dispensation will still be applicable. One does not have an obligation to attend Mass on Sunday or a holy day of obligation in the following circumstances:
- You are ill or you have a health condition that would be significantly compromised if you were to contract a communicable illness.
- You are experiencing flu-like symptoms.
- You have been exposed to someone who has tested positive or you have reason to think you might be asymptomatic of a contagious illness.
- You care for the sick, homebound, or infirm.
- You are pregnant.
- You are 65 years of age or older (per the CDC’s recommendation of high-risk individuals).
- You cannot attend Mass through no fault of your own.
- You have significant fear or anxiety of becoming ill by being at Mass.