by Fr Michael Scott SDB
Not so many years ago two tablets dating back to 2800BC were uncovered in Babylon. Both commented on the trends of the day. On the 1st were the words: “Things are not what they used to be.” On the 2nd: “The world must be coming to an end. Children no longer obey their parents and every man wants to write a book.”
Well, one Man that never wrote a book was Jesus not did He build a ‘Trump Tower’ to His name. He did something much greater. He formed a Community of living people, He founded a Church… that was His monument. And the image He used when speaking of the Church was the vine. An image of profound and intimate union.
In Spring time the branches of the vine are full of life in the form of leaves and flowers. In autumn those same branches are laden with grapes. They have this life and produce these fruits because they are connected to the vine. Separated from the vine they produce nothing, but quickly wither and die.
As the branches need the vine so do we need Christ. Jesus says ‘As the branch cannot bear fruit all by itself but must remain part of the Vine neither can you unless you remain in Me. Cut off from Me you can do nothing. He provides the sap, the energy, the grace.
A missionary in Africa records the following experience. With a small generator, he provided light for his chapel and his little house. One day a group of natives came to visit him. They were fascinated by this strange light hanging from the ceiling. On leaving, one of them asked for one of these strange lamps. Father gave him a bulb to keep him happy. Months later when Father went to visit that man in his far-off village to his surprise and amusement he saw his light bulb hanging from the man’s ceiling tied up with a piece of string! It gave no light because it was not connected to a source of power.
Separated from Christ we are like that bulb, tide up with string. We can never give or be light. We must have a source… That source, that fount of energy is Christ… to Him we must be connected if not we are simply lost. ‘Anyone who does not remain in Me is like a branch that has been thrown away – it withers!’ Be therefore connected!