Posted by: fvbcdm | May 18, 2015

Feast of Pope Saint John I (18 May 2015)

In the gospel according to Saint John, Our Lord says of himself: I am the vine; you are the branches. He is thinking, of course, of the grape vine cultivated throughout the Mediterranean region since wine has been for many centuries the favorite drink of those lands.

The vine is the basic plant. It puts forth branches, which in turn produce the clusters of grapes and the leaves to shade them from too much sun. The purpose for growing the vines is the wine. Therefore, the vine-grower will do whatever is necessary to increase the production of the wine.  He carefully prunes the vine so that it doesn’t waste its living energy in the production of many little branches and shoots, but rather that a few clusters of grapes will grow large and juicy and healthy, and he leaves only as many leaves on the vine as are needed to shade the grapes and protect them from too much sun. Everything else is pruned away.

Our Lord tells us that he is the vine, and we are the branches. We are expected to produce fruit. What kind of fruit? The fruit of good works: praise and love of God, and then service to our neighbor. We should examine ourselves regularly by asking: am I producing the fruit that Christ expects of me? Am I worshiping and thanking and obeying God as I should for all his goodness to me? Am I serving my fellow human beings by kindness, service, good example, justice, love? Have I been the kind of child to my parents that I should be? Have I done all I can to bring my spouse to God? My children? My extended family? My fellow workers? Have I been a good, honest, competent employee, or a just and considerate employer? All these things are the good fruits that Christ expects of us.

There are those who turn their backs on Our Lord and walk with him no more; in reality, it is they who sever themselves from the living Vine which is Christ. That amputation is certainly not HIS will, but their own. They prefer something else to him—often some sort of mate or sexual partner. Those liaisons cause more abandonment of our holy faith than anything else.

Let us think of these things. God the Father, the divine Vine-grower. Christ our Lord, the Vine. We ourselves, the branches, our good works, the fruit from which the wine is pressed. Let us be productive! Let us bear fruit and grow abundant with the wine of gladness. Thank you for seeking God’s truth, God Bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This message was composed some years ago.

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