Driving back from church this morning I heard on the radio an ad about Montana. The promotion took the form of an environmentalist discussing the abundant and varied landscapes and habitats that make up the state – and it was very compelling. But at one point the man started to explain that mankind needed this connection with nature because, and I quote, ‘we are only human, and to thrive we need this most important connection with what created us.’
I immediately thought of today’s Gospel “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.” We are not ‘only human’; or rather to be ‘only human’ does not mean that creation created us. That is absurd; we are created by the creator. We are made in the image of He who created us. Without God in our lives we are incomplete, and as the Jesus tells us today we ‘wither’. God alone gives us direction, gives meaning to our existence. God has instilled in us the ability to appreciate creation, to desire the beauty of nature, because He created beauty and since we are made in his image it is part of us as well.
We know this truth just as surely as we could see how absurd the man’s comment was in the commercial; but most of society doesn’t. What the commentator said makes perfect sense to those many, many people who have been numbed to the idea of absolute truth, to the idea of true peace. Society thinks of the daily struggle as normal and the successes that they achieve as the means to a totally fulfilled life. This type of existence, disconnected from the Father, disconnected from each other, numbs those living it from the deep seated desire for true beauty, love. It is up to us, my brothers and sisters to offer this fruit of truth, of peace, of love to those around us by showing them how we live our lives connected to the vine. Then maybe, we can all see the real beauty that created Montana.