“I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.”
This vivid horticultural image chosen by Jesus could not be clearer in its message. Especially as we listen to the text in these Easter days, the image conveys the truth that the Risen Jesus is not merely an inspiration for our actions; or even a “nearby presence” (like a coach on the sidelines, cheering us on). No, the Risen Jesus is in closest union with us; he “works” in us and through us. This is the faith of the Church as demonstrated by St. Paul who declared, “Yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians, 2, 20).
Why, then, don’t we live this plainly evident truth? Perhaps we fear its meaning: “If I must surrender control of my life to this ever-present Jesus, what will that mean?” But perhaps we doubt its truth: “This may be true for some saint here or there, but Jesus’ union with me cannot really be this close.” Yet, Jesus’ words haunt us: “I am the vine, you are the branches.” In his eyes, we are all mystics, everyday, ordinary, garden-variety mystics!
What have I done so far today? How much of this has been on my own? How much has been with Jesus?
Jesus, give us the faith to believe that you live in us and work in and through us!
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