In some of the Southern U.S. states, there has been a panic in the last few years as weird weather patterns have threatened the citrus crops. High winds and cold are the worst. The challenge is just to keep the fruit on the tree.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus is reminding us that HE is the “true vine” that keeps us alive through freezes and droughts—like the marriage vow says, “in good times and in bad.” In daily life, we live with so much infidelity and dishonesty that I think it is hard for us to get our minds and hearts around the immense mystery of how intimately, how organically, we are connected to Jesus.
Often, it can be difficult for us to believe, much less to live and act each day “as if” we believed it. He is saying, “Depend on me, live in me, remain in me…because unless you remain in me, you cannot bear fruit.”
Are you a gardener? If so, you know how tender you feel especially towards your most spindly, vulnerable plants. You can understand a bit better Jesus’ obsession with us. Even being pruned is a gift. Our false self may feel pain at having our “dead wood” removed, but if we remain in Jesus, new life will spring up where the dead parts used to weigh us down.
Picture a large frozen tree standing in the snow, with it’s ice-covered branches against a bright, blue winter sky. The caption below reads, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for…the evidence of things not seen.”
Our life-blood always flows into us through Jesus, our Vine. We have to hold on to our true belief in Jesus, no matter how ice-covered our life challenges make us feel.
“I recommend praying these words to Mary: Mary, Mother of Jesus…we come to you with the same attitude of children who come to their mother. We are no longer children, but adults who desire with all our hearts to be God’s children. Our human condition is weak; that is why we come to ask for your motherly aid so we are able to overcome our weakness. Pray for us so that we can, in turn, become people of prayer. We invoke your protection so that we may remain free from all sin. We invoke your love so that it may reign and we will be able to be compassionate and forgiving. We ask your blessing so we can be like the image of your beloved Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen” (St. Teresa of Calcutta).
Have a good week and may God bless you and keep you always in His Love!
Listen to my homily this morning: (Posted after Mass)
Joyfully in the Lord,
Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish