Commentary on the Gospel of
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
The familiar and poignant Gospel reading from John, one of the “I am” statements, highlights the importance of our connection and lifeline to Christ. If we’re disconnected, we wither and die like a dead branch. When we receive our energy from Our Source, we bear fruit and glorify our God.
These days, my youngest child, 18 month old, Diego, illustrates a clear example of this connection of the vine and the branches. His developmental stage represents this deep connection to his parents while having freedom to explore the world. Diego is independent, curious and adventurous as he spends his days exploring, learning and taking risks. He’s celebrating his new accomplishments, learning new skills and surviving the minor injuries that plague toddlerhood.
Diego glows with delight when he finds one of his favorite toys or successfully climbs to a new height (such as a countertop). After each celebration, he automatically turns to share his joy with me (or his dad) with a wide grin, a happy shriek or a celebratory giggle.
He practices how things work, like opening up cabinets, pouring water from one container to another and screwing and unscrewing lids on a jar. While focused on his task, he is careful about confirming (with a quick glance) to check that one of his parents is close by. He seeks companionship to energize his work. He also seeks assistance when a new task is too difficult or something new is frightening.
On his wobbly legs, he sometimes falls when he’s running or misjudges proximity and ends up bumping his head. Naturally, he seeks comfort, safety and empathy from one of us with a loving hug, a rub on his back and some consoling words.
As I imagine little 18 month Diego and his relationship with us, his parents, I am humbled and enlightened at how he represents some insight for me into my relationship with God. Perhaps some of these questions might be helpful for you, too!
On another note, with springtime here among us in the United States, it is hard to ignore the new life that surrounds us! There are also beautiful connections with the metaphors of vines, branches, withering and bearing fruit of this Gospel reading. Maybe one of the questions might resonate more with our prayer today:
Let’s pray for each other, that we may be branches bearing fruit and glorifying God with our actions, particularly as we work towards healing our hurting world and welcoming our brothers and sisters.