“I am the Vine”—the true Vine, Jesus tells us;
“you are the branches”—“remain in me.”
Full of hope—but, very demanding as well.
Notice where this puts us—
Right in the middle of it all.
So if we ever wonder,
“Why is our spiritual life such a big deal?”
Or, “Why is it a commandment
to attend Sunday Mass?”
Or, “Why does the Church seem to have
do’s and don’ts for so many parts of our lives—
what does it matter?”
It’s because of who you and I are:
Jesus did not say:
“you’re a leaf—not very important.”
You did not hear that, did you?
He said: you and I are branches—
A lot depends on us!
Think about it:
what do the branches
need from each other?
“Hey, branch—I need your help!”
“Hey branch—you’re turning brown—
you’re going to fall off!”
Most of the voices around us
tell us we’re on our own;
We don’t have to answer
to anyone but ourselves.
Sometimes we think
“it’s just between me and God.”
But that’s not how the Vine works.
We need each other—including spiritually.
Each branch not only draws life from the Vine,
But also shares it back, for the others.
A lot of branches spring off of other branches.
If we set a bad example,
if we’re drooping, spiritually,
We affect the other branches.
Even our “private” sins
diminish the life of the Vine.
As a priest, I often challenge you
to pray, to change, to grow spiritually.
But that goes both ways.
If you look at me,
and you think I need to pray more,
I need to change—
maybe I’m drooping, spiritually—
please tell me!
We help each other by forgiving;
We can help each other
get back in the Vine;
But only if we accept responsibility
for each other.
You and I come to this sacrament,
and maybe feel awkward.
This is the pruning Jesus spoke about.
It can hurt; but it makes us fruitful.
The Good News about this Sacrament is that
if a branch has broken off, fallen off the Vine,
This is when God puts it right back in!
“Hey branch! You’re drooping down—
Don’t give up!
Here’s what the Vine gave me: Here’s Life!”