3 May 2015
Homily of the Apostolic Nuncio
His Grace Archbishop Petar Rajič
In those parts of the world where grapes are grown for winemaking, they are always given preferential treatment by farmers. Grapes grown in vineyards are special as they produce the wonderful wine used by many for celebrations and family gatherings that promise to be happy moments of sharing life together. In the Old Testament, God was considered the master of the vineyard. Jesus uses the image of the vineyard in order to teach something completely new by saying I am the vine, you are the branches. The master of the vineyard has now become the vine, meaning that the Creator has humbled himself to become a creation. God is no longer considered a master lording life over us, but instead he is now a part of us as the life energy we live by. The Lord is no longer a voice coming from outside, but the secret voice in our hearts and minds that awakens goodness, love and produces joy, good works and lasting peace. God gives us his preferential treatment and is always keeping us under his constant care.
By comparing himself to a vine and saying that we are the branches, Jesus is in effect saying ‘I need you in order to be present in the world and you need me so that you can live your life to the fullest by learning to love and to forgive from me’. If any of us should decide to separate ourselves from Christ, it would be like breaking off a branch from the vine that would only dry up and die, thereby becoming useless.
The key phrase in this passage is the following: Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. How can we remain in Jesus? By simply wanting to be with him with all our heart. By finding time for personal prayer each day, listening to his word and teachings, remaining faithful to Christ in good times and bad, accepting our duties in life and fulfilling them responsibly, sharing our lives and goods with others, having a heart for those in need, giving back to life more than what we have received, loving and forgiving always the same way God loves and pardons us constantly.
It is the Lord who accomplishes these works in us when we remain united to him and respond with the fruit of good works, which he wishes to produce through us. Like the grapevines attached to the branches of a vineyard that produce deliciously sweet fruit that is transformed into fine wine, so too, our good works then give glory to God who is the source of our life, our life giving energy and the joy of our lives.