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. (John 15:5-6)
Grafting is the technique of connecting a branch from one tree to the base of another tree, causing the two trees to grow as one. While many home growers use this method to grow different varieties of apples or cherries from one basic root stock, you can create an even more unusual tree by mixing stone fruits, such as by grafting a plum on a peach base for a tree that gives both fruits. Commercial nurseries have done this for years and sell the saplings as “fruit cocktail” trees.
Jesus says we have to remain with him if we are to bear fruit. Through Baptism we have been “grafted” to Jesus; from him we draw our life. We are grafted to Jesus, the true vine, and still we keep our individuality and unique gifts for music, storytelling, cooking, writing, organizing, nurturing, convincing, and so on.
We are each different, but we all draw life from Christ as we live our Christian vocations in the world. No two of us are identical; we are all unique. But the source of our life, Jesus tells us, is the same, “Remain in me, as I remain in you…” If you pull a grafted branch from its root base, you would be left holding a mere and useless stick. Each of us, joined to Christ, can yield much fruit for those who look to us for help. Intentionally invite him to be at the centre of each action you take…
Jesus says we are “pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.” God’s Word constantly speaks to us and hearing that Word is a way for us to “remain on the vine.” We are listeners who need to keep our ears tuned to that Word because it reminds us of God’s ongoing love and readiness to forgive.
Fr Michael Smith, sj