Fifth Sunday after Easter – Year B

April 28 - May 14

Gospel Lectionary Text

John 15:1-8

15:1 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower.

15:2 He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit.

15:3 You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you.

15:4 Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.

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.

15:6 Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

15:7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

15:8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.


Welcome to the fifth week after Easter. We transition from last week's metaphor of the shepherd and sheep to today's imagery of the vine and branches. This organic metaphor underscores the intimate relationship between the two, emphasizing that only healthy branches bear much fruit. What keeps the relationship healthy is the act of pruning — or literally, “cleansing.” The Greek word for prune/cleanse, “kathairo,” also gives us “catharsis,” suggesting a deep, purifying release.

What then are we to make of this very odd line? "You are already clean (pruned) because of the word I have spoken to you."

Perhaps the "word" Jesus refers to isn't a specific command or teaching but rather the cathartic reality of the “Word made flesh.” This Word prunes away any notions of God as distant, angry, or morally perfectionistic — and the resulting theology that yields fear, bitterness, and spiritual decay. Instead, the Word made flesh reveals a God of forgiveness and mercy, rejuvenating us and deepening our connection to the vine and to each other. To abide in Him is to relax into God’s great cathartic act of being loved, which quite naturally produces an abundance of fruit.


In what ways do you find yourself accepting or rejecting God’s preemptive love in which even our worst behavior is not enough to sever the relationship that calls forth the fruit of life in us?


As you contemplate the Christ Mystery, Inhale (I) and exhale (E) according to the prompts.

(I) Christ in me; (E) Me in Christ; (I) Christ in all; (E) All is well;

(I) Christ in me; (E) Me in Christ; (I) Christ in all; (E) All is one;

(I) Christ in me; (E) Me in Christ; (I) Christ in all; (E) All is Christ;

(I) All is Christ; (E) All is one; (I) All is well; (E) In Christ;

See the complete prayer

Word from Below Reflections

The Invitation

“You have to cut back the branches.” I ordered my student gardener one afternoon. We were standing in the kitchen of the youth centre I direct and she had just finished giving me the overview of our urban gardens. Some of the tomatoes and peppers weren’t producing fruit. The raspberries were having trouble in certain...

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Make Yourselves At Home

The more closely we examine Jesus’s words in John 15 – among the last words he would speak before his death – the more it seems an awkward mix of metaphors. On the one hand, he uses as the key verb “abide,” which sounds to our ears almost transcendental, serene, relinquished. Something that could happen...

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Understanding the Bible anew through the Mimetic Theory of René Girard.

Weekly Homily by James Alison