Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator
The key word in today's Gospel reading is "remain."
Much if not all of God's word concerns itself with our relationship with God. God desires to be in relationship with the people. As God's self-revelation unfolded through the centuries, the people began to understand that God's desire for a relationship with us is so great and so powerful that God was willing to set aside "divinity" in favor of "humanity." God became one of us.
Just as our time on earth is limited so God's experience of humanity was limited by time and space. Now that the physical presence of God is no longer with us, the relationship which Jesus fostered among us has occasion to unravel if it is not tended and nurtured. Jesus uses the imagery of a vine and its branches to illustrate the necessary care that we all need to take with that relationship. If we do not remain connected to Jesus, we endanger that relationship.
This imagery is powerful. The wood of the vine is useless. It cannot be used to build anything. It doesn't even make good fire wood. Unless the branches are connected to the vine, it is good for nothing. However, connected to the vine, the branches are able to bear fruit.
The Holy Spirit is given to us to help us to care for our relationship with Jesus. The only thing that can damage that relationship is sin. The Holy Spirit is given to us for the forgiveness of sins. Once again, we pray that we will receive all the gifts of the Holy Spirit as we draw near to the Feast of Pentecost.