I AM THE VINE … YOU ARE THE BRANCHES!
Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Scriptural Readings: Acts 15:1-6; Psalms 122:1-2, 3-4AB, 4CD-5; John 15:1-8
My dear encountered couples:
Those of us who have to pick up fallen branches and twigs in our yards have a good idea what Jesus is talking about. Though there are buds or leaves on those branches that fall we know they will soon wither and die. They have been broken off from their trees, disconnected from the source of their life, and they are dying, if they are not already dead. Jesus said the same thing happens to us when we are not connected to him.
“Live on in me as I do in you,” Jesus said. “No more than a branch can bear fruit of itself apart from the vine can you bear fruit apart from me. I am the vine; you are the branches. He who lives in me and I in him, will produce abundantly, for apart from me you can do nothing. A man who does not live in me is like a withered, rejected branch, picked up to be thrown in the fire and burnt.”
I’m afraid there are times when we try to live and do things without Christ?
We must get it into our heads that doing so is as useless as a branch lying in our yards trying to grow leaves without being connected to a tree. The next time you drink some wine, think of the grapes that went into the making of it. They came from a branch that was united to a vine that gave them life and growth and perfection.
We must be connected to Jesus in a similar way, and for the same reason. Without him, we die, not merely physically which we will all do anyhow, but spiritually. Hang on to Christ for dear life. For there will be no dear life for you if you let go.
Let me end with the Suscipe prayer of St. Ignatius. This prayer gets to the heart of Jesus’ words in the Gospel. It is my prayer for today.
Take Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. Thou hast given all to me. To Thee, O Lord, I return it. All is Thine, dispose of it wholly according to Thy will. Give me Thy love and thy grace, for this is sufficient for me.