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Johanine Pastoral Application Reflections on John 15: 1 -6 by Rev. Mr. Christian Malewski
Introduction v v v v Look at the text of John 15: 1 -6 Initial thoughts and reflections – Old Testament antecedents How does this text show us how we understand ourselves as baptized Catholics? How does this text help us to understand the Church and our relationship to it? In what way does the text reflect how we live a Christian life? How does the text help us to understand worship and prayer? In asking these questions we will gain help and insight from magisterial teachings and reflections on this very passage.
The Text: John 15: 1 -6 v v v 1 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. 2 He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. 3 You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. 4 Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned. ” (New American Bible)
OT - Isaiah 5: 1 -6 v v v 1 Let me now sing of my friend, my friend's song concerning his vineyard. My friend had a vineyard on a fertile hillside; 2 He spaded it, cleared it of stones, and planted the choicest vines; Within it he built a watchtower, and hewed out a wine press. Then he looked for the crop of grapes, but what it yielded was wild grapes. 3 Now, inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard: 4 What more was there to do for my vineyard that I had not done? Why, when I looked for the crop of grapes, did it bring forth wild grapes? 5 Now, I will let you know what I mean to do to my vineyard: Take away its hedge, give it to grazing, break through its wall, let it be trampled! 6 Yes, I will make it a ruin: it shall not be pruned or hoed, but overgrown with thorns and briers; I will command the clouds not to send rain upon it.
OT - Isaiah 27: 2 -6 v v v 2 On that day-- The pleasant vineyard, sing about it! 3 I, the LORD, am its keeper, I water it every moment; Lest anyone harm it, night and day I guard it. 4 I am not angry, but if I were to find briers and thorns, In battle I should march against them; I should burn them all. 5 Expunging and expelling, I should strive against them, carrying them off with my cruel wind in time of storm. 6 In days to come Jacob shall take root, Israel shall sprout and blossom, covering all the world with fruit.
OT - Ezekiel 15: 1 -6 v v v 1 Thus the word of the LORD came to me: 2 Son of man, what makes the wood of the vine better than any other wood? That branch among the trees of the forest! 3 Can you use its wood to make anything worthwhile? Can you make even a peg from it, to hang on it any kind of vessel? 4 If you throw it on the fire as fuel and the fire devours both ends and even the middle is scorched, is it still good for anything? 5 Why, even when it was whole it was good for nothing; how much less, when the fire has devoured and scorched it, can it be used for anything! 6 Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD: Like the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest, which I have destined as fuel for the fire, do I make the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
OT - Psalm 80: 8 -15 v v v v v 8 O LORD of hosts, restore us; let your face shine upon us, that we may be saved. 9 You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove away the nations and planted it. 10 You cleared the ground; it took root and filled the land. 11 The mountains were covered by its shadow, the cedars of God by its branches. 12 It sent out boughs as far as the sea, shoots as far as the river. 13 Why have you broken down the walls, so that all who pass by pluck its fruit? 14 The boar from the forest strips the vine; the beast of the field feeds upon it. 15 Turn again, LORD of hosts; look down from heaven and see; Attend to this vine, 16 the shoot your right hand has planted.
John 15: 1 -6 and Baptism v How does this text show us how we understand ourselves as baptized Catholics?
John 15: 1 -6 and Baptism v v Christifideles Laici 18 says: “From the communion that Christians experience in Christ there immediately flows the communion which they experience with one another: all are branches of a single vine, namely, Christ. ”
John 15: 1 -6 and Baptism v Another effect of baptism: – Sanctifying grace. – The very life of God within us. (CCC 1265)
John 15: 1 -6 and the Church v v v How does this text help us to understand the Church and our relationship to it? The Mystical Body St. Paul’s Letters
John 15: 1 -6 and the Church v v 1 st Corinthians 12: 12 -13, 27: 12 As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit. 27 Now you are Christ's body, and individually parts of it.
John 15: 1 -6 and the Church v v CCC #787 says when speaking of the Church as the Mystical Body: From the beginning, Jesus associated his disciples with his own life, revealed the mystery of the Kingdom to them, and gave them a share in his mission, joy, and sufferings. (215) Jesus spoke of a still more intimate communion between him and those who would follow him: "Abide in me, and I in you. . I am the vine, you are the branches. "(216)
John 15: 1 -6 and the Church v Paul VI exhorts members of the Church in his encyclical, Ecclesiam Suam: v 35 “The first benefit to be reaped from a deepened awareness of herself by the Church is a renewed discovery of her vital bond of union with Christ. This is something that is very well known, but is something that is fundamental and indispensable and never sufficiently understood, meditated upon, and honored. ”
John 15: 1 -6 and the Church v Prior to Paul VI we see that John XXIII had a similar exhortation in his encyclical Mater et Magistra: v 258 In conclusion, Venerable Brethren, We would remind you of that sublime truth of Catholic doctrine: our incorporation as living members in Christ's Mystical Body, the Church, "For as the body is one and hath many members; and all the members of the body, whereas they are many, yet are one body; so also is Christ. " 259 We most earnestly beg all Our sons the world over, clergy and laity, to be deeply conscious of the dignity, the nobility, which is theirs through being grafted on to Christ as shoots on a vine: "I am the vine; you the branches. " v
John 15: 1 -6 - Christian Life v In what ways does this text reflect how we are to live the Christian life?
John 15: 1 -6 - Christian Life v v Thus the Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity #4 says: Since Christ, sent by the Father, is the source and origin of the whole apostolate of the Church, the success of the lay apostolate depends upon the laity's living union with Christ, in keeping with the Lord's words, "He who abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruit, for without me you can do nothing"
John 15: 1 -6 - Christian Life v v Catechism of the Catholic Church #2074 Jesus says: "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. "(33) The fruit referred to in this saying is the holiness of a life made fruitful by union with Christ. When we believe in Jesus Christ, partake of his mysteries, and keep his commandments, the Savior himself comes to love, in us, his Father and his brethren, our Father and our brethren. His person becomes, through the Spirit, the living and interior rule of our activity.
John 15: 1 -6 - Christian Life v v Lumen Gentium #6: The Church is a piece of land to be cultivated. . . That land, like a choice vineyard, has been planted by the heavenly Husbandman. The true vine is Christ who gives life and the power to bear abundant fruit to the branches, that is, to us, who through the Church remain in Christ without whom we can do nothing.
John 15: 1 -6 - Christian Life v v v Thus we read in Redemptoris Missio - 77: Since they are members of the Church by virtue of their Baptism, all Christians share responsibility for missionary activity. "Missionary cooperation" is the expression used to describe the sharing by communities and individual Christians in this right and duty. Missionary cooperation is rooted and lived, above all, in personal union with Christ. Only if we are united to him as the branches to the vine can we produce good fruit. Through holiness of life every Christian can become a fruitful part of the Church's mission. The Second Vatican Council invited all "to a profound interior renewal, so that having a lively awareness of their personal responsibility for the spreading of the Gospel, they may play their part in missionary work among the nations. "
John 15: 1 -6 - Christian Life v “Have you not heard the parable of the vine and the branches from the lips of the Master? Console yourself: He demands much of you, for you are the branch that bears fruit. And he must prune you. . . ‘so that you’ll yield more fruit. ’ Of course that cutting –that pruning- hurts. But, afterwards, how luxuriant the growth, how fruitful your works!” (St. Jose Maria Escriva – The Way #701)
John 15: 1 -6 - Worship v v What significance does this passage have with regards to how we worship and pray? Pius XII says in Mediator Dei 128: The divine Redeemer is ever repeating His pressing invitation, “Abide in Me". Now by the sacrament of the Eucharist, Christ remains in us and we in Him, and just as Christ, remaining in us, lives and works, so should we remain in Christ and live and work through Him.
John 15: 1 -6 - Worship v Church Architecture – The Head of the Body – The Body
John 15: 1 -6 - Worship v CCC #1108 – The Spirit’s work in the Liturgy - In every liturgical action the Holy Spirit is sent in order to bring us into communion with Christ and so to form his Body. The Holy Spirit is like the sap of the Father's vine which bears fruit on its branches.
John 15: 1 -6 - Worship v Ecclesia de Eucharistia - 22 Incorporation into Christ, which is brought about by Baptism, is constantly renewed and consolidated by sharing in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, especially by that full sharing which takes place in sacramental communion. We can say not only that each of us receives Christ, but also that Christ receives each of us. He enters into friendship with us: “You are my friends. ” Indeed, it is because of him that we have life: “He who eats me will live because of me. ” Eucharistic communion brings about in a sublime way the mutual “abiding” of Christ and each of his followers: “Abide in me, and I in you. ”
Discussion & Group Work What are ways that I can better live out my baptism in Christ? v What ways can I be more conscious of my union to Christ and to my fellow Christians? v How can I better participate in the Church’s worship, especially at Mass? v – Are their any specific intentions that I need to bring to Mass? My family? Friends?