Periodically, we experience situations that seemingly can only be overcome by our own strength and perseverance. It feels like us against the world. When we emerge from these scenarios unscathed and victorious, we can feel indestructible, that we cannot be stopped. In today’s gospel, however, we are reminded that this feeling is far from the reality.

Jesus compares us to the branches and himself to the vine, telling us that “Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.” This humbling quote is sometimes very difficult to embrace. When things are going well, we like to feel fully accountable for all successes. This story reminds us that we must thank God for the graces he gives us, and that without his love and mercy, we would be incapable of accomplishing even the easiest of tasks. Give glory and thanks back to God.

Joe Ertle is a junior at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland. He is a student leader for the school’s Saint Benedict Joseph Labre Ministry to the Homeless and will serve as Vice President for the Saint Ignatius Student Senate next school year.