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May 13, 2020

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Gospel: John 15:1-8
I am the true vine and my Father is the vinegrower. If any of my branches doesn’t bear fruit,
he breaks it off; and he prunes every branch that does bear fruit, that it may bear even more fruit.
You are already made clean by the word I have spoken to you. Live in me as I live in you.

The branch cannot bear fruit by itself, but has to remain part of the vine; so neither can you,
if you don’t remain in me. I am the vine and you are the branches. As long as you remain in me and I in you, you bear much fruit;
but apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not remain in me is thrown away, as they do with branches,
and they wither. Then they are gathered and thrown into the fire and burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask whatever you want, and it will be given to you.
My Father is glorified when you bear much fruit: it is then that you become my disciples.

In the first rea­ding, we encounter the issue of how strictly new converts, especially gentiles,
were to follow the Law of Moses. And as the passage tells us, “there was trouble” and “fierce arguments.”
The church is, and has always been, a community of men and women, of saints and sinners, all journeying towards the Father.
When Jesus came to redeem us, he showed us the way back. But that didn’t mean that the path was straight, smooth, and rosy,
nor did he mean that henceforth, the arguments, dis­agreements and, at times,
even fierce quarrels that characte­rize our relationships with one ­another, would cease.
Belie­vers do not cease being men and women of flesh and blood when they choose to follow Jesus.
­Jesus does not do away with our humanity and the good as well as the bad attached to it, when he died for us.
Rather, he showed us the way by which that humanity can be raised up, perfected, conformed to himself, who was its fullness.
But because we are fully human, so is the Church.
And we see that in its stark reality in the account of the challenges faced by the early community of belie­vers in the Acts of the Apostles.

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