Wildness is an apt metaphor for following Jesus. Paul in the 1st reading was not accepted into the company of believers in Jerusalem. After all he did persecute the followers of Jesus. How were these followers to accept Paul? So Barnabas stood up for Paul, told of his being knocked off his horse and a voice, Jesus, told him to preach that Jesus is the Christ. After Barnabas’ witness Paul was finally accepted. It was a wild ride for Paul and the other disciples.
Mary McGlone says, “By using the image of vine and branches, Jesus explains that we are an intimate, inextricable part of him and of one another. The image lures us to explore the depths of our connection to the God of Life.”
We are asked today if we will be fruitful branches, remaining tied closely to Jesus the vine, or will we wither and die. We must continually choose, each day, to be fruitful branches hooked intimately to the vine.
Today we have six First Communions. These young people are choosing to follow Jesus, the vine, in their lives. It is our part to help these children grow in their faith so they can live it well. We pray that they will become fruitful branches of the vine, Jesus.
If we remain fruitful branches we will experience the wildness of Paul, Mary Magdalen, Peter, and all the early disciples, maybe not to the degree that Paul felt, but it will be there. If we look over our own lives there are always these unexpected happenings and our lives change dramatically. We make plans for our lives. Someone comes along and we marry, have children, make friends, work in a job we like, enter religious life.
Then it all changes, we lose our job, a pandemic hits and we wonder if we will be able to stay in our homes, we have to flee violence in our home country and become refugees and immigrants, there is conflict in the family, we get sick, someone we never expected dies way too young. All kinds of things happen in our lives for which we never planned.
Yet if we stay part of the vine we can experience these changes as helps to further intimacy and trust in Jesus. Although some of these changes are filled with sorrow and grief, we are led, by the vine Jesus, to Resurrection and to joy.
So let us be wild as Jesus, the vine, is wild. Let us love as Jesus, the vine, loves. Let us open ourselves to newness and to new people and accept all the other branches in this community of faith, trust, and wildness. Let us follow Jesus, this wild vine, into newness of life, love and joy.
Isaac S. Villegas, SOJOURNERS, May 2021. Page 48
Mary McGlone, NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER, April 16-29, 2021. Page 19