In saying that he is the vine and we are the branches; and in saying that we must remain him to bear good fruit, Jesus was saying that he is the source of all the good intentions that we put into effect. We usually try to draw on his guidance by going to Jesus in prayer. However, his inspirations can also come to us through other Christ-like people.
In our Lord’s metaphor of the “Vine and the Branches” the good parents, and good nuns and teachers who inspired us through our youth can be seen as major branches that relayed Our Lord’s attitudes to us.
Yesterday’s newspaper had a story about the slaughter of a Nigerian Christian village, and it got me thinking about a different way of understanding Our Lord’s parable. A band of young Islamic terrorists from the north torched the straw huts of a Christian village, gunning down two hundred villagers who were rushing out of the flames. Most gruesome of all, one young soldier picked up a child, and threw her back in to the flames.
I suppose that most people reacted to that article the same way I did. I was asking, “How can people be so inhuman?”
An answer of sorts came to me. As young boys those soldiers might have been torn away from the families where they had been nursed on kindness and mutual concern. In place of that, they passed their teen years being trained to seeing life and death as parts of their soldier game. In their game they got points for gunning down Christians, and they got extra points for doing away with kids.
We must thank God for the families he gave us. We must thank him for our parents, for our brothers and sisters who were branches bringing us the life of the true vine.