“Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches” (Jn. 15.4-5).
The first time I heard these words of our Lord was in my renewal many years ago as a young teenager. The image of the vine and the branches remind me that coming to Christ is not an individual matter, it is communal. There is never a single branch bound to the one vine. We come to Christ together as community.
The NRSV edition uses the word abide which suggests a personal communion with our Lord, we must be deeply rooted and connected to the source of our existence and we do this through His Church in the celebration of the Eucharist and the sacraments. Through such a connection we echo the words of the psalmist, “I will praise you Lord in the assembly of your people” (Psalm 22). We cannot live separated from our Lord because there is no existence apart from him.
In our busy lives, we must make time for the Lord to speak to us. He is already abiding in us and we must be attentive to his creative action. By doing so, we find the fulfillment and the joy which the world can never give.