Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter
(Acts 15:1-6; John 15:1-8)
In one of her novels Ann Tyler writes of a man commenting on a sign in a grocery store. The sign reads, “Vine Grown Tomatoes,” and draws the remark: “So what that tomatoes are grown on a vine? Where else can they grow? What’s important is that they are vine ripened.” Jesus says something very similar in today’s gospel.
Jesus is telling his disciples that they must stay close to him if they are to meet their objectives. This applies to every legitimate thing that they do. Whether they raise a family, start a business, or preach the gospel, they have to follow Jesus’ commands. If they do not -- if they want to be served more than to serve, if they have contempt rather than love for one another – their enterprise is sure to encounter significant problems.
At times Jesus seems remote. We do not think he cares about us or we think that we don’t really need him. Yet he remains, as St. Augustine said, closer to us than we are to ourselves. We stay close to Jesus by both following his ways and praying for his assistance.