Jesus uses images to help his disciples to understand his teaching. In last Sunday’s Gospel, he spoke of himself as the Good Shepherd, who knows each of the sheep of his flock by name, and cares for them with such love that he lays down his life. Today, Jesus describes himself as the true vine, and his disciples as the branches. This conveys the idea that we can only flourish and be fruitful if we are connected to Christ. “Cut off from me, you can do nothing” – but if we remain part of the vine, making our home in him, we can grow in love. To remain part of the vine means sharing in the life of the Church – prayer, sacraments and community. We can achieve very little by ourselves, but as part of the vine – as members of God’s Church – we can bear fruits of love and charity, and so glorify God our Father.