The Red Vineyard, Van Gogh [Web Gallery of Art]
Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
Gospel John 15:1-8 (New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition)
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower.
Today’s gospel was the one used by Pope Benedict when he celebrated Mass in the Olympic Stadium in Berlin on 22 September 2011. In his homily the Pope used these striking words: In the parable of the vine, Jesus does not say: 'You are the vine', but: 'I am the vine, you are the branches' (John 15:5). In other words: 'As the branches are joined to the vine, so you belong to me! But inasmuch as you belong to me, you also belong to one another'. This belonging to each other and to him is not some ideal, imaginary, symbolic relationship, but – I would almost want to say – a biological, life-transmitting state of belonging to Jesus Christ. Such is the Church, this communion of life with Jesus Christ and for one another, a communion that is rooted in baptism and is deepened and given more and more vitality in the Eucharist. 'I am the true vine' actually means: 'I am you and you are I' – an unprecedented identification of the Lord with us, with his Church.
So many are caught in a ‘Jesus and me’ mentality, which ignores the reality of the Church as the universal sacrament of salvation, words from the Second Vatican Council that Pope Benedict quotes.
The Virgin of the Grapes, Pierre Mignard [Web Gallery of Art]
, in which Pope Francis will participate, will be a life-giving ‘pruning’ for each and every individual Catholic and for the Church as a whole in Ireland so that once again it can truly be a sign of God’s love for all, the universal sacrament of salvation.
May I also ask for your prayers that the people of the Republic of Ireland will affirm their support for the life of every mother and her unborn child when they vote in a referendum on 25 May. The people will decide whether to retain or reject the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution. The first part of the Amendment reads: The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.
bears fruit in plenty, alleluia.
qui manet in me et ego in eo, hic fert fructum multum, alleluia.