“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower…Remain in me, as I remain in you.”
What is loud and clear from today’s Gospel is that we belong to the Father. In Him we have our life purpose, our value, our joy and fulfillment. He is the vine grower. We grow His Way, in His Time, and through His Life. The vocation to life is a serious one, it demands that we go and bear much fruit; that we do something good and that we continue to grow.
The interesting part of Christ’s analogy is the pruning. Yes, those who bear much fruit must be pruned to bring forth even greater fruit(s). It means less me and more of Him. If not, I may actually begin to think that I am the vine grower, the vine and the branches; that is, that I am God and in control of my own destiny and success. How often do I remind myself that my success is His success? My weaknesses and failures are his doing, his pruning?
Today’s Gospel reminds me of our intimate need to stay connected. We love to socialize; we love to network. The vine, with its branches and roots, is a maze of intricacy and delicacy. What more fitting example of God’s relationship to man, and man’s relationship with creation? Is this not what it is all about? Am I connected with the Lord? Am I connected with my brothers and sisters? Am I living life to the full? Am I connected to what matters most?
This morning I calculated the number of years we waste in our lives. I do not mean time spent resting, studying or eating. No, I mean time wasted surfing the Internet, watching TV and/or playing video games. I communicated my findings to the kids today during Mass. If you spend three hours a day on any of the above items, you will have wasted two years of your life by the age of 25. By the age of 75, you will have wasted fourteen years of your life! Fourteen years!!! When you are on your death bed, believe me, you will have wished you had them back!
Without me you can do nothing. It’s worse than that! Far worse. It should read “Without me you will do great evil”. We really don’t like to hear that; but it is true. Our pride can easily metastasize, causing our roots to go bad and our fruit to spoil. My actions can quickly turn selfish, even childish, if I begin to breathe and believe that my life belongs to me and I can do whatever I want with it. No! We will all serve the Lord, either as a reminder of sin or as a son who has been redeemed.
Pride is the death sentence of many would-be Saints. The Father is the vine grower. He determines all things: when, where and how. The Lord is the Vine; from Him all good things grow and endure. We have all been called into being so as to imitate the only Son. My life is an extension of His Life.
All that I am and all that I do will mean nothing, absolutely nothing, unless the Lord is the root, the vine and the source of my endeavors. So tell the truth, speak up and get out! These words, from the Lord, will keep us from rotting away, for He prunes and nourishes at the same time