Last week in the gospel Jesus said, “I am the Good Shepherd” (Jn 10:14). This week in the gospel Jesus says, “I am the true vine” (Jn 15:1). So which one is correct? Is Jesus a “Good Shepherd” or a “true vine”? Well, the answer is Jesus is both and neither. Now, that’s confusing isn’t it? If we read the Bible with a literalist interpretation at all times, the Bible can be very confusing and contradicts itself many times.
Jesus is infinitely more than just a “Shepherd” or just a “vine”. At times we (and others) try to pigeonhole Jesus, because it’s just easier that way. The multiple ways in which the Bible describes Jesus isn’t a ploy to confuse or mislead us but rather it’s a way in which Jesus becomes more familiar. Each simile or metaphor that’s used to describe Jesus adds colour to his face, “it’s your face, O Lord that I seek, hide not your face” (Ps 27:8). Jesus wants to be known and loved. Jesus doesn’t want to be distant and elusive.
When we think about this, we do the same thing all the time.
For example, what’s Sally like? The response might be, “she’s a great mother”. Well, that might be true but that doesn’t encapsulate the whole person of Sally. She’s also a wonderful cook and a great dancer etc.
So, let us prayerful reflect on today’s gospel with this in mind.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser” (Jn 15:1)