The past recent weeks have been very interesting in reading the message of Jesus from Saint John’s Gospel. The image of Good Shepherd from last week left a very good test for us about the unity that He and His disciples shared together. And this weekend is the symbolism of the vine, branches, grapes, prune that come as an ordinary scene where the word remain serves as a refrain of the melody of the unity. In a very symbolic image Jesus has used an old practice of winemaking that is dated from 4100 B.C and that has not changed during his time. Basically he was using an image that is very common in his culture and familiar to his people.
This statement “I am the true vine and my Father is the vine grower” can be seen as a key element for the comprehension of our relation with Him and His Father. If we want to produce fruits we must remain in Him. It’s all about producing fruits. There is a necessity to remain with Jesus and remaining in his love. Keep in mind the images of Israel as vine as appeared in the Old Testament like in Isa 5:1-7; Jer. 2:21. Somehow using the same image can lead to anticipate by seeing Jesus as a replacement of this image of Israel in the Old Testament as the true vine. Also, the Old Testament spoke about pruning the fruitless vine and can be compared today to people hiding their faith. Jesus is warning them in some way to remain closer to the source in order to be able to be more productive in the context of faith. This image of pruning echoes the idea of the adjustment we have to make in our life when we realize our wrongdoing or when we have discovered that we have made the wrong decision. Our life always needs some type of readjustment.
The act of pruning away the old branches is in connection with the hope that the new will be giving life more abundantly. One of the things we need to remember as evidence of that pruning and remaining is to be able to speak openly about our faith. In the first and the second reading we can see how Paul and John have taken this initiative to really stand and speak loudly about their belief in Jesus and inspired others to do the same. I don’t how do you feel today about what you have heard or read but to me it is very inspiring. I tried to stay with the word remain that is the refrain. There is that constant need for you and for me to keep remaining in the Lord. As we look at the challenges of our faith, the challenges of our society and the challenges of our church and family there is nothing else we can do than to keep our hope, our faith alive by remaining in Jesus the true vine. By remaining in Him, the Risen Lord, we continue to draw life from Him and empower ourselves to give life to others. This is our call, this is our life and this is what we have been called to do, to get connected to Christ, allowing his word to live in us and let his Holy Spirit breathe in us as we continue to give fruits of life and joy.
Rev. Ducasse Francois, Pastor