Luckily, lovingly, God is the vine grower. He tends to us branches. He sees the branches that are withering from thirst and he gives them a boost with water. He sees the branches that are burning from heat and gives them the mercy of shade. He also sees the branches that are bearing fruit. He waits until the fruit is ripe and heavy before he picks it. God also prunes some branches. He cuts them down so they will bear fruit in the future.
Have you ever been pruned? Have you ever felt that God was cutting you down or holding you back? It is hard to come to terms with pruning sometimes. Why would God prevent you from doing something that you wanted to do? Why would He give that job to someone else? Why would He let your boyfriend or girlfriend break up with you? God is the vine grower, and he knows the end result. He knows the fruit you will bear. If you took that first job, then you wouldn't have applied to the position where you were able to change people's lives by your work. If you had stayed with that boyfriend or girlfriend, you wouldn't have had the opportunity to meet your real true love, the spouse that God had planned for you before you were born. He knows what He is doing.
He sent Jesus Christ to this earth to guide us and give us hope. Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. We must root ourselves in the vine that God provided. Jesus says, "without me you can do nothing." If we live apart from Christ, then we are like the branch that has broken off of the vine and fallen to the ground. Where are our roots? Where will we get water and nutrients with nothing holding us in the soil? Even if God tried to water us, we couldn't receive it without the vine. We are dead without the vine. We are dead without Jesus Christ.
Today's second reading gives us hope for staying on the vine when it says, "Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them," In order to stay on the vine, we must keep his commandments. The greatest commandment (Matthew 22) is to "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself'," Love is the key to staying on the vine. The second reading tells us how to love too. Saying, "I love you" is simply not enough. We must act out our love through service to God and to one another.
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