Pope: Bear the fruits of membership in Christ and the Church
(Vatican Radio) On Sunday, Pope Francis spoke about Jesus’ parable of the vine and the brances – Jesus is the true vine, and we are the branches, dependent on Him. Through this parable, “Jesus wants us to understand the importance of remaining united to Him.” Although Jesus is no longer with us as He was with the Disciples, we are able to remain united with Christ “in vital communion” through the Church.
Those are “intimately united to Christ” are filled with the fruits of the Holy Spirit. “The fruits of this profound communion are wonderful,” the Pope said. Our whole being is “transformed thanks to the grace of the Spirit: our souls, our understanding, our will, our affections, even our bodies.” United with Christ, His life becomes our own, and we are able “to think like Him, to act like Him, to see the world and the things in it with the eyes of Jesus.” And so we are able to love our brothers, “especially the poorest and those who suffer the most,” with the Heart of Jesus, and so bear fruits of goodness, charity, and peace in this world.”
Each one of us, Pope Francis said, is a branch of the one vine that is Jesus; and all of us together are called to bear the fruits of this common membership in Christ and in the Church.” The Holy Father concluded his remarks with the prayer that we might entrust ourselves to the intercession of the blessed Virgin Mary “so that we might be able to be living branches in the Church and witness to our faith in a coherent manner, knowing that all of us, according to our particular vocations, participate in the one saving mission of Jesus Christ, the Lord.”
Below, please find the full text of Pope Francis’ remarks during the Regina Coeli prayer on Sunday:
Dear brothers and sisters,
Today’s Gospel shows us Jesus during the Last Supper, in the moment He knows His death is close at hand. His ‘hour’ has come. For the last time He is with His disciples, and now He wants to impress firmly in their minds a fundamental truth: even when He will no longer be physically present in the midst of them, they will still be able to remain united to Him in a new way, and so bear much fruit. If, on the contrary, one should lose communion with Him, he would become sterile, or rather, harmful to the community. And to express this reality, Jesus uses the image of the vine and the branches: “Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches.”
Jesus is the vine, and through Him – like the sap in the tree – the very love of God, the Holy Spirit passes to the branches. Look: we are the branches, and through this parable, Jesus wants us to make us understand the importance of remaining united to him. The branches are not self-sufficient, but depend totally on the vine, in which is found the source of their life. So it is with us Christians. Grafted by Baptism in Christ, we have freely received from Him the gift of new life; and thanks to the Church we are able to remain in vital communion with Christ. We must remain faithful to [our] Baptism, and grow in intimacy with the Lord through prayer, listening and docility to His Word, participation in the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Reconciliation.
Is one is intimately united to Jesus, he enjoys the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are – as Saint Paul tells us – are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5:22); and consequently does so much good for the neighbor and the society, like a true Christian. In fact, one is recognized as a true Christian by this attitude, as a tree is recognized by its fruit. The fruits of this profound union with Christ are wonderful: our whole person is transformed by the grace of the Spirit: [our] soul, understanding, will, affections, and even [our] body, because we are united body and soul. We receive a new way of being, the life of Christ becomes our own: we are able to think like Him, to act like Him, to see the world and the things in it with the eyes of Jesus. And so we are able to love our brothers, beginning with the poorest and those who suffer the most, with His heart, and so bear fruits of goodness, of charity, and of peace in the world.
Each one of us is a branch of the one vine; and all of us together are called to bear the fruits of this common membership in Christ and in the Church. Let us entrust ourselves to the intercession of the Virgin Mary, so that we might be able to be living branches in the Church and witness to our faith in a coherent manner, knowing that all of us, according to our particular vocations, participate in the one saving mission of Jesus Christ, the Lord.