Today’s Gospel: John 15:1-8 – 5th Sunday of Easter
Such a beautiful image and such a simple message. Stay connected to the Father and to Jesus and your life will bear fruit, good fruit, abundant fruit. When we are connected to Jesus we can do anything and when we are not connected, we can do nothing.
Why then do we struggle? Why do we lose our attachment to the vine of true freedom and joy that has been offered us? We lose it because of sin; because we think we know better; because we have it all under control. Inside of each of us we fight against concupiscence, our natural inclination to sin. The way to win the fight is to do what Jesus tell us in this passage from John four times, “remain in me.” If we remain in Him and His words remain in us, we will bear fruit.
How do we remain in Him? The sacraments, especially Confession and Holy Communion, help us stay close to Jesus by keeping sin away from us. Reading, praying with and studying the Word help as well. A daily examination of conscience helps to keep us honest with ourselves and reminds us to ask for forgiveness from God and those we have hurt.
Many years ago, I toured the vineyards at the Biltmore in Ashville, NC, and I can still see the vines everywhere, grapes in all different stages of growth. And then there were grapes that had fallen off the vine and were trampled on, with no hope of growth. Thank God, we can fall off the vine and come back, no matter how trampled we may feel.
Remain in Him, the One Who loves us and knows us and wants to help us bear more fruit to glorify our Father.
What do you need to do to remain close to Jesus so that you can bear more fruit? Is it more prayer, scripture, sacraments? Make a plan, follow it and see what He does in your life.
Jesus, You call us to stay as close to You as a vine to branches. Thank You for giving us life and joy and abundance as no one else can. Amen.
Copyright 2018 Deanna Bartalini
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