Fifth Sunday of Easter

“Without me, you can do nothing.”

I like the winter. You can keep the summer—it is too hot. Friends invite me to Florida. I decline. I sneeze in the spring, but my favorite time of year is the fall. I love everything about autumn. It is cool, but not freezing. People seem to come alive with the brisk respite from the oppressive summer heat. The colors of autumn are breathtaking. Ironically what makes the colors of autumn so beautiful is that the leaves are dying.

Each of those leaves on the ground, producing resplendent color, is dying. When the leaf is detached from the tree it begins the slow process of dying. You don’t notice it at first. It takes a while. The leaf looks fine, but all the while it is dying inside. You detach a rose from the rosebush, and it begins to die immediately. You don’t notice it at first, but nevertheless, it is still dying. This is not unlike the human soul. Our Lord refers to himself as “the vine.” We are “the branches.” “Whoever remains in me will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me will wither.”

When we remain affixed to Him we are given the sustenance to live. When we separate from Him, we begin to die inside. We don’t notice it at first, but nevertheless, we are dying inside. Like the leaf, like the rose, like anything detached from that which gives it life, we begin to die. And we don’t notice it, until the death process becomes irreversible. Have a look around. You’ll see them. You can recognize in a minute those poor souls who have chosen to separate themselves from the vine. Thinking all the while they can do it without Him who gives life.

Attached to the vine, we live. Separated from the vine, we die. “Without me…you can do nothing.”