”I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
One of my earliest memory growing up is visiting Grandma’s house in north central Wisconsin and eating raspberries right off the backyard bushes. 45 years later every time I eat raspberries, the color, smell and taste return me to the abundance growing in my grandma’s backyard.
The Gospel text we hear at Mass today says that every branch that “does bear fruit 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.”
God desires abundance in each one of us. And, although not a gardener, my gardening friends tell me that pruning is necessary to make the roots stronger, thus making the vine healthier and able to hold up during times of drought. Pruning can help new branches to grow. Ultimately, pruning encourages the growth of more tasty fruit.
How deeply God loves us. In this Easter season, can we allow God to prune us so as to increase the fruitfulness of our generosity?
—Fr. Mike Bayard, SJ, is the Socius of the USA West Province of the Society of Jesus.
Loving God, you have promised to remain in us as we remain in you. May we allow ourselves to be pruned of those things that keep us from growing stronger in your love. Take away that which weakens our desire to remain in you, so that we may bear fruit in the world. Amen.
—The Jesuit Prayer team
Please share the Good Word with your friends!