“I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NRSV).
These words from St. John’s Gospel are as counter cultural as they get. In these words we find humility and direction. In humility, we hear Jesus telling us that we do not go through our Christian lives alone. He gives us the direction of relying on Jesus so that we can do the will of God. Jesus is using a lot of symbolism, but, He is being ever so direct.
The Christian life is as good as it gets, so long as we remain connected to Jesus. Our lives have so many things thrown at us. Jobs. Relationships. Life and death. Taxes. The economy. Politics, debates and more. All of these scream out for our attention, while subconsciously drawing us deeper into ourselves as our only center. How do we find real fulfillment of life?
Jesus in this Gospel gives us the answer. If we want our lives as Christians to become something great, we must first let Christ be our center while we search for and receive our life from Him. Our lives will bear the greatest fruit so long as we remain with the Vine who is Christ.
At the same time, we are not the only branch; but one of many. We participate in the creation of the fruits of the Christian life in collaboration with others. Each branch grows a fruit similar, yet different from ours. We each provide a unique flavor, color, texture and beauty to Christ who is the Vine.
Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB