The Lord's Day At Home

If you are housebound or self-isolating at this time, please use these prayers to unite yourself with the worship of the Universal Church, and your own Parish, this Sunday. If alone, read or say these prayers quietly to yourself. If with another, or in a family, someone should read the Gospel, and others respond. It might be suitable to find a special, quiet place at home for your Sunday prayers.

Gospel Reading John 15:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that bears no fruit he cuts away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes to make it bear even more. You are pruned already, by means of the word that I have spoken to you. Make your home in me, as I make mine in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself, but must remain part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is like a branch that has been thrown away – he withers; these branches are collected and thrown on the fire, and they are burnt. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask what you will and you shall get it. It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit, and then you will be my disciples.’

Reflection

One of the distinctive features of Saint John’s Gospel is the number of times Jesus says “I am …” In fact books have been written on the eight “I Am” statements in the fourth gospel. Last week we heard him say “I am the Good Shepherd” and today he says: “I am the true vine.” Each of these statements is revealing something of Jesus and his Father, and the mission of salvation in which he is engaged. Today the image of the vine is all about fruit – after all, what is a vine without good grapes?! How does a vine produce fruit? Only with a lot of intensive labour on behalf of the vinedresser, who must prune and trim and care for the vine unceasingly (rather like the shepherd looking after his flock). The Father, who loves us, works within us through the Spirit, so that we may remain a part of Jesus, the true vine, and produce good fruit. It is by our choice and actions that we become “disconnected branches”, unable or unwilling to accept God’s care, and so can produce no fruit.