”I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.
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. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide 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.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Periodically, we experience situations that seemingly can only be overcome by our own strength and perseverance. It feels like us against the world. When we emerge from these scenarios unscathed and victorious, we can feel indestructible, that we cannot be stopped. In today’s gospel, however, we are reminded that this feeling is far from the reality.
Jesus compares us to the branches and himself to the vine, telling us that “Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.” This humbling quote is sometimes very difficult to embrace. When things are going well, we like to feel fully accountable for all successes. This story reminds us that we must thank God for the graces he gives us, and that without his love and mercy, we would be incapable of accomplishing even the easiest of tasks. Give glory and thanks back to God.
—Joe Ertle is a junior at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland. He is a student leader for the school’s Saint Benedict Joseph Labre Ministry to the Homeless and will serve as Vice President for the Saint Ignatius Student Senate next school year.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen!