Fifth Sunday of Easter
Attachment to God
Mystical Body of Christ
Points to note
As mentioned in the leaflet for Easter 3, this is part of a four-week journey that John is leading us. You may wish to read that leaflet to set this Sunday in context.
This passage is largely based on images. We will have to be careful of the image we wish to put across. It contains a powerful image of a vine to be pruned and burnt in the fire. An overemphasis on disposal of the discarded vine in the fire may convey too negative an image.
There is an image there of a vine bearing fruit. I suggest that we begin with this image, which is both easily understood and is positive. Each one of us produces fruits and we must remember that this is due to God. If we are no longer attached to God, we lose our fruit-bearing abilities.
Explain about the vine. Get the children to describe how a vine looks like.
The vine is a common crop in Palestine where it grows luxuriantly. In the first three years, however, a young vine is not allowed to bear fruit as this is seen as sapping the vine of nutrients in order to bear immature grapes instead. It is therefore very drastically pruned. Even when the vine is matured, branches that do not bear fruit are pruned for very much the same reasons. This is often done twice a year. A good vine therefore does not produce good grapes without drastic pruning.
The wood of the vine is too soft to be any good and is often collected to be burned in a bonfire. It does not even qualify under the Law to be brought to the Temple as wood offering to be burnt at the altar fires. So, burning it is purely to get rid of it.
Make your home in me as I make mine in you.
Whoever remains in me bears fruit in plenty.
The Lord be with you.
All: And with your spirit.
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St John
All: Glory to you O Lord
(Jn 15: 1-8)
Jesus said to his disciples:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
Every branch 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, because of the word 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 true 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.”
This is the Gospel of the Lord
Do any of you have fruits? Discuss the gifts that each child has. It will be good to get them to share one. We are not talking necessarily about talents here. A loving disposition is also a gift.
Discuss how we each get these gifts. Link them back to God as the source of gifts.
What do we do with the gifts that God gives us? It is like the vine: the fruit of the vine branch is put to good use. Otherwise, the branch is taken away and burnt.
Notice that the branch will continue to bear fruit as long as it is attached to the vine. Why? What does the branch get from the vine to bear the fruit? Nutrients such as water, minerals from the ground, fertiliser, etc. Discuss what we need from God for our gifts to grow. Emphasise the fact that the link with God is all-important. Just as a hand cannot do the work of a hand if it is detached from the body, a vine cannot produce grapes if it is detached from the branches.