The Grapevine

A “Mystery” and a great wonder,
the grapevine is an ancient tie to the past
and a link to our greatest fears or our deepest longings.

(Click on any picture for links to more information or other fun sites)

In the “days of old,” news was transmitted by people who ran from town to town spreading the word.  Indians would listen to the ground to learn of coming storms, or trains, or “pale-faced” invaders.

As civilization progressed to printing presses, radios, televisions, internet, satellites and lasers, news could be distributed faster, more accurately and in various forms, from the written word to live video and audio broadcasts.  Yet, despite it all, we still tend to share our inmost thoughts, experiences and lives in general – “On the Grapevine.”

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What have you heard lately on the grapevine?

Do you believe it?

What is it that we really believe???

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Well, to begin with,
let’s just learn a little more about this mysterious growth –
the Grapevine and its awesome Fruit.

Table Grapes – Click here for a great Wikipedia overview –

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Yes, besides being considered, the “nectar of the gods” (wine),
grapes are used for making jams and jellies,
juice, vinegar, oils, raisins, currants,
sultanas and seed extracts for
health and medicinal uses.

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Scientists have developed a fairly good understanding of the
growth and chemistry of the Grape and its Vine.

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And yet what is this great “Mystery” of the infamous Grape?

To discover that, we must plunge into the “Library of Life” itself, The Bible . . .

New American Bible

Did you know that the word “wine” is used some 237 times in the Bible?
Vine is used some 72 times.
Vineyard 62 times and
Grape(s) some 41 times.

That’s a lot of references to our good old friend, the Grapevine.

And if this plant and its fruit can be found all the way back
to the time of Noah and the flood,
why was it so important and in what context was it constantly mentioned?

Well, lets put our ear to the vine
and see what we can find out…

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Remember those 4 basic elements,
the ancients described as the foundation of life as we know it?

Fire . . . . Water . . . . Air . . . . Earth

Well, when we think about all of Life,
in particular, say ours and that of the grapevine,
we come to realize how dependent we are on each other
and on these 4 elements.


In order for our grapevine to exist it must have Earth
as a foundation for growth and for nourishment.

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It must have Air for respiration and photosynthesis,

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as well as Water.

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.And it must derive light and warmth from the bright
Fires
of the sun.

sun.

With all of those elements available, the vine will produce Grapes, both for its own reproductive existence and for our sustenance and Life.

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And the higher the quality of each of these elements, the higher the quality of the grapes it produces.  And the higher the quality of the grapes we eat, the better we become ourselves.  An endless cycle of goodness!

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Thus, what we read in the Bible about Vines, Vineyards and Grapes reflects this quality of Goodness.

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Often, vines, vineyards and grapes symbolically represented humanity or God’s chosen people, the Israelites.  Just as Grapes can be good or bad, sweet or sour, these people, if they remained within the framework of behavior defined by God, were considered Good and were blessed with abundance and prosperity.

If, however, they diverted from God’s guidance and “followed the wrong crowd,” they suffered many difficulties in life, and in the end, their vineyard either became unproductive or its fruit was taken away by others who had no investment in its growth.

There was a time in Biblical history when God was not very happy with how the Israelites were conducting themselves.  Thus He sent these words to them through the Prophet Isaiah:

A Watchtower

“Let me now sing of my friend,
my friend’s song concerning his vineyard.

My friend had a vineyard on a fertile hillside;
he spaded it, cleared it of stones, and
planted the choicest vines;

within it he built a watchtower,
and hewed out a wine press.

A Winepress

Then he looked for the crop of grapes, but what it yielded was wild grapes.

Now, inhabitants of Jerusalem and people of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard:

What more was there to do for my vineyard that I had not done?

Why, when I looked for the crop of grapes, did it bring forth wild grapes?

Now, I will let you know what I mean to do with my vineyard:
take away its hedge, give it to grazing, break through its wall, let it be trampled!
Yes, I will make it a ruin: it shall not be pruned or hoed,
but overgrown with thorns and briers;
I will command the clouds not to send rain upon it.

The vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel,
and the people of Judah are his cherished plant;
he looked for judgment, but see, bloodshed!  For justice, but hark, the outcry!”
Is 5:1-7

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Jesus also referred to the Jewish nation, His disciples and the non-Jewish, Gentiles, in parables using the grapevine allegory.

Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.  He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.  You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.  Remain in me, as I remain in you.

Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.  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.  Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned. 

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.  By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.  As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.  This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.  No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command you.  I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. 

It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.  This I command you: love one another.  Jn 15:1-17

(Link to Daily Mass Quotes – May 2012)
See if you can find the verse

…TO BE CONTINUED…

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