Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches.” What makes this parable beautiful is that even while you are putting your mind to deciphering it message, you already have the lovely full vine planted in your imagination.
That image might spur the memory of a grape vine in a neighbor’s yard. It might spur a memory of you and the other kids, scaling the neighbor’s fence, then pulling off handfuls of grapes, while keeping an eye out so you didn’t get caught.
But, as to Our Lord’s message. He is telling you that you never accomplish anything on your own. “”Without me you can do nothing.” Cut that branch off the vine, and it will never sprout another bunch of grapes. It won’t even sprout a leaf.
We think we come up with fine plans that we carry through, but St. Paul insists that the facts are otherwise. In Chapter Two of his Letter the Philippians Paul said, it is God working in you, causing you to have the idea, then to bring it to completion.
We all love it when Macbeth came to realize that he had been deluding himself. His greatness was an illusion. Expressing that, he said, “Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then. is heard of no more.”
Jesus said that the Father was the vinedresser who prunes the vine to make it bear more fruit. Permit me to express another thought, about a natural form of pruning that comes about as we age.
I have heard that as the green of leaves disappears, and the leaves are no longer needed to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen for our air, or glucose for nourishing the tree, that the vine, seeing the leaves as harmful to itself, puts cork at their stem bases, causing the leaves to fall. As you age, might you not have something like that happening with you?