Acts 9:26-31; 1 John 3:18-24; John 15:1-8
Christ is the vine and this is the source of our nutrition and our health, and without him, we can really do nothing. So what must we do?
First, decide whether you are bearing no fruit at all. None. If that is really what you feel is happening to you, then you need to get help from someone, because spiritually you are dying. Remember that most of us do bear good fruit—it is just that we don’t remember that we do.
Second, with that settled, review what pruning is. It is a way to make things better, make a better plant, a better tree, a better orchard. If you cut tired old branches from your philodendron, the plant begins to thrive again, not wither. Pruning is done to encourage new growth and the overall health of the plant or tree.
Seen in that way, you and I do need to be trimmed regularly, don’t we? The reason pruning would help is not that we should be punished, but that it promotes the health of the whole person, the whole garden, the whole orchard—the mystical body of Christ.
Trust the steadiness of God’s gardener hand. Trust even while suffering. Drink in your overflowing share of trust at Sunday’s table of the Lord. Let the Word instruct you, let the body and blood of Christ, which was pruned to almost nothing, fill you and shape you.
Then you can say to the Lord with the rest of us, go ahead, trim whatever gets in the way! We are not the vine, we are the branches. Our job is not to be perfect, it is to remain in you, Christ, and to let you do good within us and through us. God prunes from us whatever does not give life, and nourishes within us whatever does.
And this is the Good News.
Fr. R. Stephens