In the parable of the vine, Jesus does not say: “You are the vine”, but: “I am the vine, you are the branches” (Jn 15:5). In other words: “As the branches are joined to the vine, so you belong to me! But inasmuch as you belong to me, you also belong to one another.” – Pope Benedict XVI
Gospel Text: ( JN 15:1-8)
Jesus said to his disciples:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
because without me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
will be thrown out like a branch and wither;
people will gather them and throw them into a fire
and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified,
that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”
When travelling on a plane, we are completely dependent on the mechanics who service the plane’s engines and on the expertise of the pilot. I have to rely totally on a machine that is way too heavy to be flying through the air and will come down if there is a mechanical or electronic failure.
When we go out to eat we trust that the chef is providing good fresh food.
When we switch on an electrical appliance, we depend on the manufacturer’s skill to make something that won’t blow up in our faces. When you think about it, we are dependent on so many people. We trust them to do their job so that we can live safe and happy lives.
That is what Jesus is telling us in the reading from John’s Gospel today when he says, "I am the vine, and you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me" (John 15:5). You don’t have to know too much about gardening and plants to realize that a tree, shrub or any plant as far as that goes depends on the trunk and the root system for it to be happy and healthy. So to with us, if we recall the words of Christ to His disciples:
"Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.” (Jn 6:48-68)
Yet many who profess with their mouth to believe in Jesus Christ fail to depend on Him in their day to day lives. Instead of being attached to the true vine, they are tied to a bank account. Others are attached to their education. Some have tried to make vines out of popularity, fame, personal skills, possessions, relationships, or fleshly desires.
But none of those things can sustain or bear fruit. The vine is Christ.