The Vine and the Branches
Many today ask, “Why should I go to church? Why can’t I just worship God in my own way? Surely religion is about my personal relationship with God?”
From the earliest times, following Jesus was never just a private, personal matter. Christians came together to live in community, to profess their faith in Jesus Christ, to witness to his resurrection, and live by his teachings. The profound reason for this is given to us by Christ himself, when he said,
“I am the vine, you are the branches.”
The vine and the branches are one. There is a mutual interdependence of branch and vine, and branch with branch. To say, “I will follow Jesus but not the Church,” is to separate Jesus from the Church, to cut off the branches from the vine.
The first disciples of Jesus had seen him, eaten with him, and spoken with him after his resurrection. As a consequence they had a deep sense of connectedness with him, a connectedness from which they drew great strength. Jesus had chosen them. He had made them his friends, and sent them out the bear fruit, the fruit of love.
By this all will know that we are living branches of the Vine—by the bond that exists between us and the care we show for one another.
Excerpt from New Sunday & Holy Day Liturgies by Flor McCarthy, SDB