Daily Reflection for Wednesday May 05, 2021
Peace and Blessings, Friends and Parishioners,
We encourage you to reflect on Wednesday’s readings at this link:
If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading: Acts 15: 1-6
Responsorial: Psalm 122: 1-2, 3-4ab, 4cd-5
Gospel: John 15:1-8
Our reflection on Wednesday’s readings:
“I am the vine and you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.” John 15: 5
As a part of the Last Supper discourse in the Gospel of John, Jesus is trying to prepare the disciples for his final hours with Him. He had already imparted loving words to them such as: “Do not let your hearts be troubled,” “I am going to prepare a place for you,” and “I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always.” (John 14: 1, 2B, and 16A.) Even so, Jesus could see, in their faces and in their hearts, the feelings that left them confused and disheartened. The disciples were amidst a troubling situation they did not understand and could not control.
We have all been there. I can remember trying situations when I did not know how I would walk through the day. Some of you reading this may be there today. When I read this Gospel, I hear Jesus’s response to these situations. He tells us: “I am the vine and you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.”
As I look back on troubling times in my life, I see that I was attached, even unknowingly, to the vine, Jesus, and the vine grower, Abba (Father). Through suffering, the branches of self-reliance were removed so that branches of reliance on God could grow. “He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that is bears more fruit,” says Jesus in verse 2.
How did I stay close to the vine and the vine grower, even unknowingly? I attended weekly and sometimes daily Mass to receive Eucharist, I prayed with scriptures each morning, and participated in a small faith sharing group. The Holy Spirit also became a powerful source of help by guiding me with the words of scripture or Christian music. Eventually I was able to ask God to show me in the moment what to do and began using deep breaths, breathing in the Holy Spirit. Lastly, I deliberately participated in the Sacrament of Penance.
In the same way a lilac bush needs to be pruned to bear fragrant flowers, I needed to be pruned to bear fruit for the Kingdom. Unlike lilac bushes, I have free will. If I did not suffer, I would not turn to God for help. If my self-reliance continued, God would have remained at my feet, instead of moving to the center of my life.
When pruned, an open space was created within me for God’s “Son-shine” to penetrate. From that space, an inner joy, and unknown gifts emerge as the fruit. I can do nothing without God’s help!
How do you stay connected with the Vine?
Blessings for the Journey!