To stroll through a peach orchard in August reveals what Jesus describes in today’s gospel. The fragrance, the colors of sunset on the round globes, the sense of abundance, finally the taste: sweet juices oozing from mouth to elbows. It’s so sensual it’s not seemly in church—let alone the Bible!
Jesus has no delusions about our worth, even our best efforts: “apart from me you can do nothing” (15:5). Deep down, we suspect we need help; Jesus confirms that intuition. But he can make us as fruitful as Katherine Anne Porter describes in “Another Sarah”:
A wave of living sweetness
A nation of white petals
A dynasty of apples.
Or peaches. Hidden in the wonderful, organic vine-and-branches metaphor is a caution: don’t get detached from the vine. We can be so caught up in our charitable works, our marvelous endeavors or our efforts to save the world, we overlook the source of our energy.