Saint Bridget of Sweden – Readings

Commentary on Galatians 2:19-20; Psalm 33; John 15:1-8

The Gospel reading from John’s Gospel comes from Jesus’ long discourse at the Last Supper. In the passage, Jesus speaks of himself as the True Vine. His Father is the vine grower and his disciples are the branches. Jesus, as the trunk of the vine, is the source of life for the branches. As long as the branches remain on the tree, they will produce fruit. Any branches which do not produce fruit will be cut off and burnt. Other branches will be pruned so that they will produce even more fruit.

The images clearly indicate the relationships that exist between Jesus the Son and his Father. They also show the relationships that should exist between Jesus and his followers. Jesus is the source of real life through the Vision of Life that he gives to us, as well as through the grace that he pours into receptive hearts.

We can expect, too, that there will be times of trial. We should not see these as punishment, but rather as challenges to our faithfulness and opportunities for spiritual growth. There can be no real growth in a life where everything goes too easily.

And a test of our discipleship is that we bear fruit. We do not just live for ourselves; it is not just a question of being in ‘a state of grace’ and ‘saving our souls’. We have to carry out Jesus’ injunction to be the salt of the earth, the light of the world. Our lives are to be marked by a deep desire for the well-being of our brothers and sisters marked by a life of service to their needs.

This was the pattern of life which Bridget followed from her earliest years. Her deepest concern was for the moral uplift of people everywhere. Her life is perfectly expressed in the First Reading, a short passage from the Letter to the Galatians:

I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me…I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Like Paul, she is so close to Jesus that she finds it hard to distinguish between her own identity and that of Jesus. They have become one. That should be our goal too.

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