I am the vine and you are the branches.
John 15: 5
Today in many parts of Central America we celebrate the feast of the Cross. In parts of El Salvador and Guatemala crosses are decorated with elaborate floral arrangements. I have not seen such a custom here in Honduras.
The Cross is central to our faith. The Cross is the source of our salvation: we have a God who became flesh and suffered for us. It can also be a source of consolation for many who can see Christ sharing in their sufferings. It can be a source of hope when we remember that death is not the final word. Christ Jesus, bearing the wounds of the Cross, was raised from the dead.
As I was reflecting on today’s Gospel that Jesus is the vine and we are the branches, I came across two quotations that express this clearly.
José Antonio Pagola, in a commentary on the Sunday Gospels, writes:
Jesus is the «true vine», full of life; the disciples are branches that live off the sap that reaches them from Jesus.
Centuries earlier, St. Cyril of Alexandria explained this relationship with a beautiful maternal image:
Jesus says he is the vine, the mother and nourisher, as it were, of his branches. For indeed we are begotten anew from him and in him…
As I reflected on the Crucified Jesus as the one who nourishes us, as a mother, I thought of the mosaic of the church of San Clemente in Rome. At the center is the Cross, surrounded by vines, which come from the plant below the Cross.
The Cross is life-giving. From it come all. It is not merely a sign of death. It is a sign of a love that saves us, that nourishes us that gives us life.
The Church of San Clemente does not permit photographs; so the photo above comes from another source.