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Daily Reflections ...

Grapes and Grains

– Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter –

I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” [John 15:5]

“Bearing fruit” is spoken about twice in John’s Gospel.  In John 12:24 Jesus says, “Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” The second instance comes from today’s gospel reading, specifically John 15:5: “I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.”

While there is much to mull over regarding what John has intended to communicate by linking these two verses together, of particular interest are the paired agricultural images of wheat and grapes. As we all know, these are the primary elements of bread and wine; bread and wine being the gifts we present to God at Mass and which are transubstantiated into the body and blood of Christ on the altar. By drawing a parallel between John 12:24 and 15:5, the Evangelist thus seems to be suggesting that our participation in the Eucharist is closely tied to our ability to bear fruit in the kingdom of God.

The implication is that the more closely Catholics unite themselves to Christ in the Eucharist, the more fruit they will bear for God’s kingdom. Inversely, if among Catholics there is widespread ignorance, neglect, and even abuse of this wonderful sacrament, it follows that the Church’s harvest will be greatly diminished because of it.

by Mark Makowiecki

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