Reflections - April 29, 2018

“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.”  Jn. 15:5.
A few days ago I visited some friends who have crops of fruit in the south of the State and I was able to ascertain how they cared for their trees.  As I observed the thorough work of these men and women I asked myself, “What if we had the same commitment to build our spiritual world, our faith, in the same way we build our temporal world?  How many fruits would be acquire for the Kingdom of God?”
Today the Gospel of John presents us with Jesus strolling through the vineyards of Galilee and it occurs to Him to say:  I am the true wine and you are the fruits……remain in me and I in you.  “By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples”.
The Lord says: “Remain in me”.  It is not good enough to say that I am baptized and that I come from a Catholic family.  All of that is good, but Jesus insists on something more.  He wants us to remain “when it rains and when it is not raining and also in times of drought (the trials of life…)”.  To remain in Christ is to share “the sap”, divine life, which we receive at Baptism by the spirit of adoption that as baptized members of the Church we received from God.  This gives us the hope, joy, and peace we need to be able to share it with others.
At the end of that beautiful spring trip into the fields of South Florida, I realized that the workers “pruned” the foliage of some trees.  I found a lesson to evangelize in this gesture.  It is that sometimes in our lives and in the Church the Lord permits “pruning” that which is superfluous.  What He does not permit is the pruning of the essential mission of our vocation – to bear fruits.  “Evangelization is preaching with authority the Word of God that walks as a traveling companion in the midst of crises and pain to teach and to be a channel of the gift of grace and also as a host that welcomes, heals, and reconciles sinners with God.  That is our identity received from the Lord who calls us to be evangelized communities and evangelizing communities.”  Pope Francis.
Let us pray to the Lord in the Eucharist that we may bear more fruits, united to Him, who is the true life.  Remember, “Without Christ we can do nothing”.