1 I am the true vine; and my Father is the husbandman.
Augustine: He says this as being the Head of the Church, of which we are the members, the Man Christ Jesus; for the vine and the branches are of the same nature.
Hilary: He wholly separates this humiliation in the flesh from the form of the Paternal Majesty, by setting forth the Father as the diligent Husbandman of this vine.
Augustine: 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 plowing: 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 plow, as it were, of His word, in sowing in us the seeds of His commandments, in waiting for the fruits of piety.
2 Every branch in me, that beareth not fruit, he will take away: and every one that beareth fruit, he will purge it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Chrysostom: By fruit is meant life, i.e. that no one can be in Him without good works.
3 Now you are clean by reason of the word, which I have spoken to you.
Augustine: He performs the part of the husbandman then, as well as of the vine.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing.
Augustine: The branches do not confer any advantage upon the vine, but receive their support from it: the vine supplies nourishment to the branches, takes none from them: so that the abiding in Christ, and the having Christ abiding in them, are both for the profit of the disciples, not of Christ. . . . He who thinks that he bears fruit of himself, is not in the vine; he who is not in the vine, is not in Christ; he who is not in Christ, is not a Christian.
Alcuin: All the fruit of good works proceeds from this root. He who hath delivered us by His grace, also carries us onward by his help, so that we bring forth more fruit.
Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. I (London: Rivington, 1842).