“Love cannot remain by itself -- it has no meaning. Love has to be put into action, and that action is service.” - Mother Teresa
Gospel text (Jn 15,1-8): Jesus said to his disciples:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
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.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
because without me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
will be thrown out like a branch and wither;
people will gather them and throw them into a fire
and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified,
that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”
Our Lord does not hide to his disciples all the dangers and difficulties they will have to face in the near future: «If they persecuted Me they will persecute you...» (Jn 15:20). But they should not be intimidated nor overwhelmed by all the hate they will find in this world: Jesus renews his promise of the arrival of the Protector, while assuring them they may ask and they will be given. Finally, the Lord prays for them —for all of us— to the Holy Father during his priestly prayer (cf. Jn 17).
But our danger does not come from outside, though: the worst menace may arise within ourselves when we fail to respect the fraternal love among the members of Christ's Mystic Body or the unity with the Head of that Body. The recommendation is clear: «I am the vine and you are the branches. As long as you remain in me and I in you, you bear much fruit; but apart from me you can do nothing» (Jn 15:5).
The first generations of Christians managed to keep a very clear conscience of the importance of remaining united through charity. Here is the testimony of one the Fathers of the Church, saint Ignatius of Antioch: «Do you therefore all run together as into one temple of God, as to one altar, as to one Jesus Christ, who came forth from one Father». And here is also an indication from the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Christians: «Whatsoever he said unto you, do [it]» (Jn 2:5).