Catena Aurea, Easter 5B, Jn 15:1-8
St. Augustine (354-430): For we cultivate God, and God cultivates us. But our culture of God does not make Him better: our culture is that of adoration, not of ploughing: His culture of us makes us better. His culture consists in extirpating all the seeds of wickedness from our hearts, in opening our heart to the plough, as it were, of His word, in sowing in us the seeds of His commandments, in waiting for the fruits of piety.
St. John Chrysostom (c. 347-407): And in so far as Christ was sufficient for Himself, but His disciples needed the help of the Vinedresser, of the vine He says nothing, but adds concerning the branches, Every branch in Me that bears not fruit, He takes away. By fruit is meant life, i.e. that no one can be in Him without good works.
And inasmuch as even the best of men require the work of the vinedresser, He adds, And every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bring forth more fruit. He alludes here to the tribulations and trials which were coming upon them, the effect of which would be to prune, and so to strengthen them. By pruning the branches we make the vine shoot out the more.
Alcuin (c. 735- 804): All the fruit of good works proceeds from this root. Jesus, who has delivered us by His grace, also carries us onward by his help, so that we bring forth more fruit. Wherefore He repeats, and explains what He has said: I am the vine, you are the branches. He that remains in Me, by believing, obeying, persevering, and I in Him, by enlightening, assisting, giving perseverance, the same, and none other, brings forth much fruit.
(image: The Vineyard, from Codex Aureus Epternacensis (1030-1050) in the German National Museum, Nuremberg.)