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The Fruit of the Vine - 5th Sunday of Easter (B)

This weekend we hear the story of the Vine and the Branches. Jesus calls Himself the Vine and tells His disciples that they are the branches. As branches they're called to produce fruit, but sometimes those branches don't produce fruit. Now, we have to take ourselves to the mindset of a 1st century Jew in order to understand this message a little bit more.

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In the 1st century, folks living in the area of Jerusalem were very familiar with fruit producing plants. They understood that healthy plants produced the most fruit... figs, grapes, olives, etc. So when Jesus calls Himself the True Vine, they listen intently to His message. They want to know where He is going with it. In a way, Jesus wants His disciples to imitate Himself. They are to go out and serve others, especially the most vulnerable in the world around them. They are to seek out the outcast. This is the fruit that Jesus wants.


The story of the conversion of St. Paul illustrates this point very well. He goes from being one of the greatest persecutors of the early Church, to one of its chief champion evangelists. He goes from throwing believers of Jesus in jail, and even martyring some of them, to being martyred himself for being a believer in Jesus. Now, at this time, they weren't called Christians quite yet. They hadn't completely cut themselves off from the Jewish faith. Early on, Saul (Paul) as a rabbi wanted to snuff out this Jesus movement because he felt as though it watered down his beloved Judaism. He felt as though this movement was leading people astray. It is an encounter with the Risen Christ that changes his life completely. When the Lord eventually calls Him home, you have to imagine that St. Paul not only showed the fruit of his labors, but he showed an entire vineyard worth of fruit.

We're called to ask ourselves, what fruit are we able to show to the Lord this day? What have we done for Him and His people?