As with all vine growers, Jesus tells us in the gospel that God cares for his vines, nurturing them, pruning them where necessary, giving them all they need so that they can grow stronger and reach their full potential. We are no doubt the branches. What does it mean to be a branch? Branches must remain connected to the vine or they bear no fruit. Even those branches that do bear fruit need pruning so that they can grow and bear even more fruit. We live in a world where productivity is seen as the measure of success: we are measured by what we produce. Is Jesus really adding to the pressure by telling us that he wants to see results or else!?
But the parable is more about connectivity than productivity. We don’t measure friendship or relationship in terms of productivity but in terms of connection. We want to remain close to, to be connected to the people we care most about. It is this closeness, this intimacy that Jesus calls us to. Are we connected or disconnected to God? If the connection is strong, then fruit-bearing comes naturally and people will see the gospel in our lives and in the way we respond to the world.
© Jane Mellett, Intercom Magazine, Veritas, Dublin