“I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty.” (John 15: 5)
In the context of the last Supper, Jesus is preparing his disciples to live in the world without him being physically present. In today’s Gospel (John 15:1-8), the key word is “remain” and it is repeated 10 times. The image for “remaining” is that Jesus is the Vine and you and I are the branches kept alive by mutual indwelling in love. The sap of our daily life comes from the Vine, and it produces fruit in and through us.
St Eugene de Mazenod meditated on himself using the image of a tree:
I was a tree damaged by original sin. The head of the household could have had it cut down and thrown it in the fire. He preferred to transplant it into good soil for it to bear good fruit. Such was the effect of baptism.
…Transplanted into the blessed soil irrigated by the blood of Jesus Christ, enriched with his very substance, etc., what fruit did I produce? Great God! (1814)
We have been living and continue to live challenging days, necessitating the importance of an awareness of us being the branches and of an Indwelling that challenges us to produce fruit in an unusual context. Let us remember that Jesus said “remain” ten times in today’s Gospel – and he constantly keeps repeating it to us throughout the day.