|These sorts of posters kind of drive me crazy|
But what we have here is not Jesus the motivational speaker, this is Jesus giving his last will and testament. This discourse is taking place at the Last Supper, just hours before his agonizing Passion and Death. Jesus isn't giving a motivation talk here, he's giving one last instruction and plea before his death for his disciples to remain close to him.
Jesus uses this image of a vine and branches to demonstrate just how much we need him in our lives. What he's saying is I am the vine, you are the branches, apart from me your works are empty. I am the vine you are the branches, apart from me whatever you do means nothing. I am the vine, you are the branches, apart from me you are as good as dead. That's what he's saying when he says, "Apart from me you can do nothing." And we put it up on our houses and call it inspirational.
And it should be inspirational. It should inspire us to stay attached to the vine that gives us life. Jesus is trying to make us understand that we need him in our lives, we need him in every aspect of our lives. He says, "Apart from me you can do nothing," and yet we know we do a thousand things a day that don't seem to involve him, so we have to realize that those things we do apart from him, no matter how good they may be, are empty, are meaningless, inasmuch as they are separated from him.
|We had First Communion at the parish today.|
It looked something like this.
So if Jesus is telling the truth here when he talks about the vine and the branches, then we have to acknowledge our absolute need for the Eucharist. If we the branches are going to stay connected to the vine, then we have to stay connected to the Eucharist. The Eucharist is our connection to Jesus, because it is Jesus himself.
|Beautiful Bighorns: still not as cool as Jesus|
|Very tempting on a Sunday morning: Jesus is still cooler|
So depend on this love. Stay connected to the vine by staying connected to the Eucharist. Jesus wants to give each of the strength we need in this life, and he wants to give it to us through the Eucharist. Our job is to respond to that love. Our job is not to make ourselves worthy, only Jesus can make us worthy. Our job is to make ourselves available to that transformative love that can only be found in him. Almost every one of us has started this lifelong path of transformation, but not a single person here is far enough. We are never far enough. However far you are in this Christian life, Jesus wants to love you more. Stay connected to the vine, be available to that love.