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Friends, our passage today is from the beautiful, evocative, and challenging fifteenth chapter of John’s Gospel. Jesus declares that he is the vine and we are the branches. He is the power and energy source in which we live. This vine and branches image is closely related, therefore, to Paul’s metaphor of the Body of Christ.

The point is that we live in him and he in us. Jesus is the source of supernatural life in us, and without him we would have none of it. If you are separated from the vine, you will die spiritually; if you are connected to it, you will live a supernatural life.

What does this mean concretely? It means a steady immersion in the prayer of the Church and steady communion with God, speaking to him on a regular basis. It means an immersion in the Scriptures and soaking in the truth of the Bible. It means engaging in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

And you must participate in the sacraments—especially Confession and the Eucharist. By the sacraments, we stay close to the Christ who forgives our sins and enlivens our spirits.