Father Christopher Warren, St Mary’s RC Church, comments on John 15 v 1 – 8:

A vine can grow into an immense plant. A single root can spread its branches over a vast area and produce an abundant crop. The vine is an image of Jesus and the branches are his members, his Church. If properly pruned, a vine grows greater still and becomes more able to thrive.

In Saint John’s Gospel, Jesus uses the image of vine and branches to reveal to us something about his Kingdom and our lives. Like the branches of a vine we depend upon nourishment, light and water from the root, Christ.

However, the greatest growth comes about when we are challenged, pruned of that which is not essential. Then the life of God can help us to grow to full stature as men and women.

The last 12 months have revealed to us something we can easily forget: as human beings we rely upon others. We have all been pruned but the root remains firm and is a continued source of life for us. Far from being solitary creatures we are made for community and communion.

The lockdowns and isolation brought about by coronavirus have highlighted our fundamental need – the need to be with others. The Gospel encourages us to reach out to others and make a gift of ourselves.

We may feel bruised and battered following the last year, not unlike the pruned branch, seemingly lifeless. In fact, when we realise that we are connected to Christ who is the root and source of our vitality, we know that we are in fact bursting with new life.

As we emerge from lockdown, the Gospel calls us to make a fresh start rooted in Christ and open to the new possibilities of life – together!