Connected and Alive

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

April 28, 2024 – Fifth Sunday of Easter, John 15:1-8

Download this simple process to Prepare for Sunday using the Observe, Judge, Act Method.

Knowing how nature works can help us understand how our own lives can be lived in a way that God intends. After all, God has created the entire universe. Within the workings of created nature, there are processes that can be traced back to the blueprint God used from the beginning.

For most of my life I have been deeply interested in the connection between the miracles of nature and the meaning of my own life. I have learned that there are two basic books to learn about God: the Bible and the Book of Nature. God is the author of both books.   

This is also why Jesus often turns to the processes of nature to help us understand our own lives. Today we listen to Jesus using the making of wine from grapes that come from vines and branches to teach us that we best stay connected with God, with each other and with all creation. When connected in mind and heart with all, we will be most alive.

People in the time of Jesus would be quite familiar with the way in which wine was made. Historians have noted that many ancient societies depended on wine, not just to enhance a good meal, but to survive. We forget that many years back water was often contaminated. And there were few processes available to purify it. But people still needed liquids to survive. And for many, drinking wine met that need.

And there were additional benefits as well. Recall the first miracle of Jesus at the wedding feast at Cana when he changed water (some biblical scholars say that water was there for foot washing) into wine. Very good wine too!

Today’s gospel is taken from the farewell address of Jesus at the Last Supper. I don’t need to mention that this is one of the most important sections of the entire bible. On that occasion Jesus offered to those with him an important image: He said that he is the vine, and we are the branches. He pointed to the vital connection between Jesus and us, a living connection. If that connection is broken, we, the “branches” will wither and die.

This gospel is selected by the church during the Easter season because the Risen Jesus is not limited by his former earthly body. He is now connected with us in many ways. As St. Paul often notes in his letters, we are now part of the body of Christ. We continue the work of Christ through our own acts of kindness, generous love and forgiveness.


David M. Thomas, PhD

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