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Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year B

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Lectionary: 53
Read the Gospel: John 15:1-8

Gospel Summary
By using the image of a vine and its branches, Jesus helped his listeners understand the interconnectedness of relationships between the Father, Jesus, and his followers. Jesus is the vine and we, the followers, are the branches that grow from the vine. The gardener, the one who provided the growth and did the trimming, was God. When we are living examples of God's love and act as Jesus did, we provide much fruit. When we fail to do this, we create a lot of dead wood and produce no fruit.

Reflection for Families
For many of us, there are certain things we enjoy in our lives. There's a good chance that some of our pleasures stem from days before we became parents such as a weekly golf outing, shopping, a night out with friends, or short get-aways. Of course it is healthy to take care of ourselves, but this reading gives us an opportunity to see if there are some things that no longer contribute to our growth on the branches. The fruit we bear is faith and love. Do we need to do some pruning in order to show our children that we are truly fruit-bearing branches on Jesus' vine?

Bringing the Gospel Into Your Family
If your family can get to a real grape vineyard, that would be great! Otherwise, go for a walk in a park or your own yard and notice how bushes grow. Point out the new branches and look for dead branches - even parts of the bush that have fallen to the ground. Make connections as a family about what are the parts of your lives that are good, healthy, and fruit bearing. Look then at the dead wood and parts of the tree that have fallen away. What are those things in your lives? Take time to pray together as a family asking God to help you prune away the deadwood.

Discussion Starters
1. I am good fruit on Jesus' vine because...
2. Sometimes I'm deadwood when...
3. I find comfort knowing I am a branch on the vine of Jesus, especially when...

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