Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In this Sunday’s Gospel, our Lord Jesus referred to Himself as “The True Vine” and to His Disciples (and to those who believe in Him) as the branches. The symbol of the vine is part of the Old Testament heritage, in which its inspired authors employed it to depict ancient Israel (see for example: Is 5:7; Jr 2:21; Ez 19:10; Ho 10:1; Ps 80:8). This made the vine one of the most cherished and appreciated trees in this heritage alongside with the Olive Tree and the Cedar of Lebanon. The prevalence of such appreciation finds its roots in the significant qualities of the vine. At the time of Jesus, as it still is, the vine is usually grown on terraces, around the front doors/back doors of the houses, sometimes trained on fences or allowed to creep on the ground or held up by low forked sticks. But wherever it grows, the vine adds beauty to the house’s landscape and comfortable shade to its inhabitants. It provides them with abundant products. Its sweet fruit can be eaten fresh, dried for raisins, pressed for wine, or made into vinegar. Its leaves are used in some recipes; and the wood pruned out of it was burned in a useful fire (i.e. cooking, warming the house, etc.).
Although the “Vine,” referred to in this passage, is “True,” yet two kinds of branches originate from it: the fruit-bearing branches and the fruitless branches. The believers, compared to the first kind of branches, bear fruit because they remained in Christ, being purified by His words, and pruned by the Father. And the second kind of branches symbolizes those who rejected Jesus or abandoned Him.
During this blessed Season of Resurrection, we beseech our Savior to grant us the grace to remain in Him, to follow the guidance of His Holy Spirit and to glorify His Father.
God bless your hearts.
Fr. Pierre Albalaa m.l.m.
Parish Administrator for Sacred Heart