Fifth Sunday of Easter
Acts 9: 26-31
I John 3:18-24
John 15: 1-8
I love to do my running over in Townsend Park. Many of you know where about the park, but if you are unfamiliar, it has a lovely asphalted path that winds through the park that is four miles long. It is mostly all through the woods, and it has a boardwalk that crosses over Sunfish Lake. It is absolutely beautiful, and I love running there. The other evening I was running there, and it seemed the whole woods was alive, with the buds from the trees beginning to bear the leaves that lie beneath them and there was this certain glow through-out the woods. I was having a run of a lifetime, praying and enjoying all of God’s creation when suddenly a six-foot limb came crashing down missing me by just a few feet. The first thing I did was jump, then I screamed, (I was practicing my scream for when I have to go up in the helicopter at the festival.) I then looked around to see if someone could have thrown the limb at me, and then I continue. Our gospel gives us an image that we all know so easily here is this area that of if you want a plant to grow more some things need to be cut off, and some branches need to be pruned. We are also challenged to jump, scream out, and look around and to move forward.
In our Gospel, Jesus says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.” Jesus loves this term, “I am.” He says, I am the Good Shepherd, I am the light of the world, I am the door, I am the bread of life and today I am the vine. These are all very simple images, and when we see these things they are to remind us of him and grow in a deeper understanding of who he is in our lives. I am the vine is to remind us that there may be other vines in our life but only the vine of Jesus Christ is the true vine that gives us life.
Jesus continues with, “He (God) takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit.” Notice, the vine does not bear the fruit, the branches do, and we are the branches that bears the fruit. The branches are only able to bear fruit because of the life they receive from the vine. God as the owner of the garden cuts off, what does not produce fruit on the vine. What in our life, is dead and needs to be cut off? Ex. Poor use of computer, excessive drinking, gambling?
Jesus continues with, “But even every branch that bears fruit he prunes so it will bear more fruit.” Jesus is letting us know that even in the things we do well, we will experience a bit of pruning so as to bear more fruit. It is all about a great abundance! What needs to be pruned in our lives? To make better our prayer lives, so we do not know as much doubt and fear!
Like me in the beginning of my story, do we need to jump up and take notice of the things that need to be cut off or pruned to bear more fruit? Will we scream out in pain or in joy? Where do we need to look around and survey what just happened and know that we are ok? Where do we need to continue again knowing that we are attached to the vine and are now made stronger in Christ?
If we want to know life in abundance Jesus says, “We can do nothing apart from him.” The Eucharist is our sign of being connected to the vine, may we produce much fruit this week.