Living in the city, I just don’t see a lot of vineyards. The fruit I encounter comes in jars or in the produce section at the market. But that doesn’t matter. Today’s Gospel is clearly about more than harvesting fruit. And it comes down to one word anyone can understand: “Remain.”
Jesus uses the word no less than eight times in this passage, summing up his message by saying, “Remain in me as I remain in you.” What Jesus offers isn’t just a lesson in how to grow a vineyard, but a message about how to grow as his disciples. It begins with remaining—being committed, devoted, present.
And for the Christian, “remain” means more than just “stay.” It means stay committed. Stay committed to mercy. To justice. Stay committed to binding wounds, uplifting the poor, remembering the forgotten. Stay committed to growing in faith. Stay committed to hope.
But there’s even more. We don’t do it alone. Jesus offers this consoling truth: he also remains. He stays committed to our struggles, our sorrows, our challenges. Emmanuel, God with us, is invested in us. “Remain in me as I remain in you.”
In the end, Jesus remains closely intertwined with every one of us. The result, we’re told, is that we will “bear much fruit.” In the Lord’s vineyard, one of those fruits might be something you don’t find at the market.
It just might be grace.