Reflection on John 15: 1-8
Familiar gospel but one that has a meaning for our lives that is encouraging, supportive and fulfilling.
Two weeks ago, we talked about the image of Jesus, the Good Shepard, and what that means to us. Today, we are confronted with Jesus as the vine. There is a very powerful line in that gospel – “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who lives in me and I in him will produce abundantly”.
We live our lives in a world of dependents. Each of us, from birth on, has been somewhat dependent on another. In our early years, it’s our parents, then we add friends, then we add a lover, a spouse, a partner – then we add our own children. No matter how independent in spirit we are, we still live a life dependent on others.
And for most of us, we have based our faith life on our belief in God, the Father Almighty. We are dependent on him for our spiritual nourishment, for guidance in our lives. We turn to him in joy and say “thank you” and, in sadness, we seek consolation.
But the question is: How personal is our relationship with God, our Father, with Jesus, our brother?
Is our God a far off spiritual being to whom we turn on occasion and offer prayers? Or is God an intimate of ours? Is our God a companion on life’s journey? Is our God someone we talk to during the day and say good night to? Is our God, also our friend? Is he alive in our life?
You see, most of us struggle throughout our lives to balance our family, our personal being, our commitment to others and our relationship with God. God is the reason we go to Church on a Sunday and maybe even the God to whom we offer prayer.
But the key to fulfillment, the key to our having a spiritual void in our lives filled, is when God becomes real in our life. You know we have talked about Jesus as our companion; we have talked about living our life as if Jesus is at our side. But today’s scripture reminds us that it is more than that.
It tells us that we can make our God the CENTER of our lives – when we realize he is the vine, the source of life within us, then it also promises us that our lives will become ABUNDANT – what does that mean? That nothing will ever be impossible with God in us, that no fear or sadness can ever consume us, that we are never alone and when it comes to pass over, we truly will pass over – to a kingdom that defies description but a kingdom and a home where we will live in eternity in peace.
All of that is possible when we center on God, when we make Jesus our friend, our confider, a daily part of our lives.
Centering means acknowledging that no matter how busy the day we begin our day with him. We carry him throughout our day and we learn to talk with God. It can be formal prayer or it can be a continuous conversation.
Whichever the form, it is CONTINUOUS and that’s what lads to centering on Him. We feel his presence our side – we acknowledge him with us and we think of him and acknowledge him by engaging in dialogue with him.
I even carry him into spinning with me. When I am in the process of sprinting for a long time on the stationary bike, I lose myself to what I am doing and I see His face. I bring Jesus into the gym with me and I leave with him.
That’s where I am urging each of us to go – not to the gym spinning with Him but rather that I see and feel him in my life throughout the day.
Its when we live our life drawing support from the vine continuously – acknowledging him as the source of our life and the center of all that we do.