• Elpidio Pezzella

The vine, the branches and the vinedresser

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.

... I am the vine, you are the branches. John 15:1, 5 (NKJV) Many wonder about who they are and what the purpose of their life is, and speaking of God, they do the same with Him. The text of John's Gospel offers us a lapidary answer to reflect on: we are the branches and Jesus is the vine from which we should depend. "Without me you can do nothing," says the Master. These are the words that close the words of the biblical text of this meditation. The conscious believer knows that without the Lord he must not do anything. There is no spiritual life without the vine of Christ. He is the One who is able to give the fruit expected from God, differently from the people of Israel, a vineyard that gave wild grapes. We too will not be able to produce what God likes if we rely on ourselves. And that is why we must be and remain attached to the vine. Afterwards we must let ourselves be treated by the winemaker, the loving Father, whom Jesus describes to us with calloused and expert hands. What a sweet and familiar figure for each of us. Behind the vine there is a vinedresser, a simple and familiar figure that Jesus chooses to present us with God the Father. A farmer who takes care of the branches with hands that know the earth since creation. It moves me to think of a God like that, who prunes me because I produce juicy fruits and not wild grapes. Wild grapes are not suitable for making wine, but this does not mean that it is to be thrown away. The desire of God is that I be able to give grapes that produce wine. In the last supper the wine symbolizes the blood of Jesus. The grapes from which wine can be produced are the same ones that are ready to give their lives to others, to die for the vineyard of the Lord. Those who have been planted and cared for by the Lord have His life, and will not keep it for themselves, but they will be ready to give it for God. None of us, not even the church will be the perfect vineyard. Only Jesus manages to be the "true vine", and at the same time he sees us as part of himself: you are the branches. I and you branches of the same plant, the only root and only one lifeblood. It is not possible to think that we are independent vineyards, we remain branches. "We are an extension of that stock, we are composed of the same material, like sparks from a brazier, like drops of the ocean, like breath in the air". Without Him we can do nothing, because we dry like the branch detached from the vine. The most we can do is get wild. However, the song of Isaiah (5:1-7) describes how the vineyard is reduced to a desert. However, God is able to trace a path in the desert and turn it into a garden. Perhaps the most difficult thing is to wait as the farmer does, when, after sowing, he puts himself in trustful expectation for the harvest. To us the humility not to detach ourselves from the vine and to let ourselves be pruned in due time. I am sure that God wants me to be luxuriant and I cannot be afraid of a God like that, who does not hold the scepter but the hoe, does not sit on a detached throne but on the wall of my vineyard. With his hands he is there to stimulate my growth, in fact "every branch that bears fruit prunes it to bear more fruit". His pruning, even if at the moment painful or misunderstood, has no intention of mortifying; in fact it means removing the superfluous and strengthening, eliminating the old and giving birth to the new. My "farmer" God heals me and prunes with one goal: my flowering. Devotional 21/2018 Weekly Bible reading plan 20 May 1 Chronicles 10-12; John 6:45-71 21 May 1 Chronicles 13-15; John 7:1-27 22 May 1 Chronicles 16-18; John 7:28-53 23 May 1 Chronicles 19-21; John 8:1-27 24 May 1 Chronicles 22-24; John 8:28-59 25 May 1 Chronicles 25-27; John 9:1-23 26 May 1 Chronicles 28-29; John 9:24-41

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