REFLECTION FOR TODAY
May 5, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
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. Jn. 15:5
Jesus used a powerful metaphor in our gospel reference today to capture the relationship that exist between Him and every believer. In this gospel reference, we recognize that God wants to produce good fruit in our lives. He also wants to bring His grace and mercy into the world through us.
The vine does not produce the fruit alone but does so through the instrumentality of the branches. So, if we take this teaching at face value, God is saying that He has chosen to bring His grace and mercy into our lives and into the world through us.
In addition, Jesus says “without me you can do nothing.” What does the word “nothing” means? According to St. Augustine, Jesus added “you can do nothing” to emphasize the fact that, by ourselves, by our own effort, we cannot even produce a “little” good fruit.
The fruit that God wants to produce also takes place within our soul, in the form of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. These fruits consist of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Every one of these gifts from God will have the effect of transforming us more fully into the image of God Himself in our world. Try to take a moment to consider each one of those Fruits of the Holy Spirit. Each one is very desirable. Growing in a desire for them will help you grow in a desire for the Holy Spirit in your life.
Pondering on the gospel reference from another perspective, if we separate ourselves from God, then it is impossible to experience any one of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. Without a firm connection to God, we will have no love, no joy, no patience, kindness, etc. None of that is possible unless our lives are firmly connected to the Vine, who is Jesus Himself. So, fostering a positive desire for these good fruits, as well as a holy fear of losing them, is useful.
Reflect, today, upon the beautiful and meaningful image given to us by Jesus of the vine and the branches. Think of a vine and then think of yourself firmly attached to that vine. Sit with that image prayerfully and let God speak to you. He wants to do great things in you and through you. If you will only cling to Him with all your heart, an abundance of good fruit will be produced.
Jesus the Vine, You are the source of all goodness, and, without You, I can do nothing. Help me to always remember how deeply I need You in my life and help me to cling to You always. Please bring forth an abundance of good fruit in my life and, through me, into the world. Jesus, I trust in You.