Back in the time of Christ, working in a vineyard and pruning vines
was as common as filling a car with gas
and driving off down the road.
Now, this arid region which you and I call home,
is unable to produce grapes or wine.
So, to get the full impact of today’s gospel,
let’s think in terms of IV tubes in a hospital
in place of branches on a vine.
Let’s think about blood transfusions, kidney dialysis, oxygen tanks.
Let’s think about anything that brings home the message that,
without our being connected to Christ…we die.
Let me tell you about a woman in a previous parish whom I’ll call Jane.
Jane is on dialysis three days a week.
Her doctor gave her six months to live…four years ago!
When I would visit her at home and bring her Holy Communion,
She would tell me that it was Eucharist that she needed
more than the dialysis.
Her body needs on-going dialysis.
But her spirit requires a regular in-fusion of grace.
Each week, when the nurses at the clinic disconnect those IV tubes,
she returns home to regain her physical strength.
Yet, she knows that it is Christ and her connection to Christ,
that keeps her spirit strong and her hope alive…
her hope in a life beyond this life,
a life without end.
Now, is this just another way of talking about
having a good attitude and a positive outlook?
Not for Jane who knows,
in a way that most of us have not yet experienced,
that Christ is the medicine, we are the vein.
Have you ever thought of the Eucharist as sacramental dialysis?
When the Living Bread dissolves on your tongue
you absorb the living Christ.
When you drink of the chalice
you receive a transfusion of life-giving Blood.
During this Mass and every Mass,
Christ comes to dwell with us…and within us.
We are part of him and he is part of us.
We are his Body. He is our Blood.
He is the medicine, we are the vein.