I am thankful that I still have this reflection space to turn to as writing can be therapeutic at times. Today’s gospel reading focuses on the vine and Jesus as the vine-dresser which brings us back to the concept of our faith and the church. It also brings back the good old days when I would wake up and after breakfast go and tend to the garden.
Plants do need regular pruning once they grow long branches as it becomes untidy and by pruning the branches, they give way for flowers to bloom and fruits to mature. Pruning also helps take away the dead leaves or branches that are of no use to the plant anymore and which may affect its overall health. In the context of the church and our Catholic faith, Jesus tells us that we must be willing to be pruned which is to do his bidding with obedience, turn away from sin and to be disciples to others in building his church, his community. The gospel says, ” I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit” (John 15:1-8). The fruit that Jesus promises us is that we will be his instruments that will display his good and great works.
Along the roads, we would chance upon these huge trees at road dividers but has it occurred to us to reflect on why they are so sturdy and strong? Like the theology of the vine, they have these basic aspects: rootedness, connectedness, the ability to be pruned and fruitfulness. Our church and faith have to be rooted in Jesus who asks us to take that first step in walking with him, which is to be keen in our faith and the yearning to know more such as reading the bible.
The second aspect would be connectedness which is to remain connected to Jesus and to the people around us. Simple actions such as checking-in with the person and affirming them are acts of love and encouragement to help them know that Jesus is with them and that through prayer, everyone can be connected to Jesus. This is true where people are unable to find the thing that they are looking for, but Jesus could be the answer that they are looking for. The third aspect would be the ability to be pruned which is to admit our faults and to be pruned aspects that hinder our spirituality. It is to be rid of sin and to seek renewal in Jesus again.
The last aspect would be fruitfulness which is to bear fruit by lighting up someone’s life and bringing positiveness into it. Jesus also calls us to be his disciples to one another by being family to one another and we can be sure that he will provide for us. Discipleship is about giving through words and actions that will bear fruit in the long run. We need to remain in Jesus and focus on things that really matter- helping someone, encouraging someone, doing small things with great love.
Whenever I see flowers blooming from the plants in the garden, it gives me great joy to see the colours give new life to the image of the garden, and like the church, we need to keep evangelizing and leading people to Jesus. Then the church will be where they will find his comforting presence for the Holy Spirit will inflame their cold and lonely hearts.
Jesus is the true vine and his presence is in essence, the love and hope that binds us together as one united church and people. I am still hanging on to Jesus as after this week of examinations, I can finally be free and go back to my family,friends and interests where I am truly home at last. Today’s theology of the vine is both beautiful and meaningful as it speaks of something simple yet truly beautiful. It is a plant created by Jesus.
I would like to end this post with a Christian pop song called “Do Something” by Matthew West which reflects on the call of us Christians to make a difference and we are seeds of hope and instruments of God’s great works.
As we go about our lives, we continue to pray for the people in Nepal that they will have the strength to rebuild their lives, that there be an increase of relief efforts and that we pray in solidarity with them through this difficult time. God Bless!
“I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now
Thought, how’d we ever get so far down
How’s it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”
Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “I did, I created you”
If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something”
Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong