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Lois Williams Douglas

Fifth Sunday of Easter

“He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit” (Jn. 15:1-8)  

In today’s Gospel reading (Jn. 15:1-8), we learn that the Father is the Vine, and we are the branches. “He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.”

If the Father takes something away (prunes you), it is for your good. This includes people in your life who may distract you from seeing God’s will. Although it is difficult, it is necessary for your growth. I get it. You have friends you care about, but God will remove them from your life if they distract you from doing God's will. You are being pruned to bear more fruit and be closer to Him; "he prunes so that [you bear] more fruit.” It is for your Good. 

Let me add here that through God’s infinite wisdom, God also prunes us to meet our needs and protect us from all danger and harm. Through prayer and humility, we see that pruning is necessary because we cannot defend ourselves. As children, teenagers, and sometimes young adults, we thought we could outsmart our elders. Little did we know that their prayers shielded us from harm on countless occasions. Here, we realize that our parents prayed that God would prune us and remove any darkness that covered God’s light. God’s wisdom is manifested in providing what we need to walk in the shadows, with God’s words being a lamp on our feet and light on our paths. God loves us like our earthly parents but loves us more deeply. When we view God’s love through this “lens,” we know why Jesus Christ was crucified and resurrected from the dead. “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.” It is for our Good.

Finally, we need God to prune us because of the sins in our lives. God despises the sin, not the sinner. Regardless of the sin, we are never cut off from Him. However, when we stray, we are, in essence, cutting ourselves off from His love, grace, and mercy. Praise the Lord because reconciliation gives us another opportunity to produce more fruit. Even in seasons of doubt, we are still watered by Him, thus producing fruit. We are admonished to “Remain in me, as I also remain in you.” It could not be any clearer. He is the source of our lives. There is nowhere you can go and be loved more. Nor is there any human who will cling to you as God clings to you. Our reward for clinging to Him is eternal life. We are mere branches and part of the vine. This vine is our true lifeline, and to be separated from Him only brings death. Our desire must be to live and obey, knowing that the end result is living our eternity in Heaven with Him. God prunes where we don't ... It is for our Good.

The author, Lois Williams Douglas, is the Chairman of the Sister Thea Bowman Group in the Sacramento, CA Diocese. In her parish at St. Basil’s the Great in Vallejo, CA, she is a member of the Choir. She is currently a Certificate in Contemporary Black Catholic Spirituality Program student through the Center for Religion and Spirituality at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA.

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1 Comment

God is in the pruning business!! Amen

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