Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter

(Acts 15:1-6; John 15:1-8)

Jesus uses the parable of a grapevine to describe his relationship with his followers. Just as branches need to stay connected to the vine if they are to receive nourishment so Jesus’ disciples must remain close to him if they are to prosper. Most critically we stay close to Jesus through the Church which guides our behavior and fortifies us with his Body and Blood.

The bishops of England and Wales have just decided to reinstate the Friday abstinence from meat in their jurisdiction. It will mean more inconvenience than sacrifice, but the bishops evidently believe it will bring their faithful closer to the Lord. It should remind believers of Jesus’ death for their sake. Also, it will unite them to Jesus, the preacher. By testifying to their faith when they publicly refuse meat on Fridays they will raise the issue of living for a purpose beyond what is here and now gratifying.