For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below, or copy and paste it into your browser.
I have never been much of a gardener. Keeping a couple of house plants alive is about as much as I can handle. I do appreciate, though, those who create beautiful flower gardens and those who grace our tables with fresh fruits and vegetables. I suspect it takes not only an interest, but also a special set of skills to create and cultivate a garden. I mention this because the image of a garden is evident in our Gospel today as Jesus tells us: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.”
Friends of mine who are gardeners tell me that if a plant is to produce beautiful flowers or abundant fruit, a certain amount of pruning is necessary. I suspect this is why Jesus told us that his Father “takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.” In addition to pruning, though, if a plant is to bear fruit it must also receive the proper nutrients. Jesus reminded us of this when he went on to say: “Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.”
We continue to read from the Acts of the Apostles for our first reading today. Today’s section is the wonderful story of how Paul (Saul), who had previously persecuted the early Christians, tried to join the disciples. We are told that they “Were afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple.” Finally “Barnabas took charge of him and brought him to the apostles, and he reported to them how he had seen the Lord……”
Our second reading today is from the first Letter of Saint John. In the section we read today, John reminds us that we are to “love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
1. What do you need to allow God to prune in your life in order to become a better Christian?
2. When have you been suspicious of someone’s words or actions only to discover that they were acting in good faith and with charity?
3. How and/or where do you need to love in deed and truth?