Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
This weekend’s Gospel Jesus identifies himself as the “true vine”.
The image of a vine that produces grapes is one that is not foreign to many of
us as would be the image of a Shepherd tending sheep. Many people more
and more are planting vines in their backyards so that they can enjoy a good
produce of grapes. Even I tried my hand on planting a vine and producing wine
(i.e. check out my video from last year on our YouTube channel… hahaha).
Through our baptism in Christ Jesus, we are grafted into the “true vine”. The
sign that our grafting has taken hold is the fruit that it produces. If we are
grafted fully into the Lord, then we can expect to “bear much fruit”. But Jesus
warns us that the opposite can also be true – if we do not fully drink from the
spiritual nourishment of the vine we will become dead branches. Jesus warns
us that “whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and
withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.”
Do our words and actions show that we are abiding in the Lord – that we are
healthily grafted to him and bearing “much fruit”? We should be honest with
ourselves with this question.
Jesus concludes this weekend’s Gospel by reminding us what happens to the
healthy branch, which we all hope we have become, or are becoming in our
daily journey towards the Lord. Jesus says “If you abide in in me, and my words
abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father
is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”