YEAR A: HOMILY FOR WEDNESDAY OF THE 5TH WEEK OF EASTER
HOMILY THEME: Every Branch that Actually Bears Fruit is Pruned
BY: Fr. Evaristus Abu
HOMILY: Read Acts 15:1-6,
Psalm 103 and John 15:1-8
“Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:2) While reading the parables of the Lost Coin, the Lost Sheep, the Prodigal Son, you would notice that more attention is placed on the lost (the strayed, the sinner) than the one that was not lost. What happens to the good guy? What is the lot of the ninety-nine obedient sheep?
Our Gospel passage today contains Jesus’ parable of the Vine. Much of this passage is dedicated to how we must avoid cutting ourselves from the vine and thereby exposing ourselves to fire. Nevertheless, in one tiny phrase, Jesus also describes what would happen to us when we do not stray. Here is it: For choosing to be good sheep, for making effort to bear fruits, for deciding not to get lost, for not breaking away from the vine, Jesus says the reward we get is pruning from God.
What does it mean to be pruned? It literally means going under the knife. It is something farmers do simply to encourage growth and achieve their desired outcome in a plant. Pruning is shaping. It usually involves cutting off rough edges, taking out dead leaves etc.
In other words, when God prunes us, He as a master farmer removes from our system all those things that are not good, things we may interpret as suffering, yet God does it so that we can attain His desired outcome. To be pruned by God is to swallow some bitter pills or to receive some painful injections. This is why it is NOT always a sweet thing to be the good guy. While those who go astray are ceremoniously welcomed, those who remain are pruned.
This is the reason why sometimes, we wonder whether God is being unfair. In truth, if God does not prune us, we can never grow as he wants us to. We can never achieve God’s plan for our lives if we do not suffer the blade of pruning from time to time. For instance, God may notice pride growing inside us and He knows how dangerous it is. So what does he do? He prunes out the pride by certain humiliating circumstances that literally bring us down to our knees. We may cry in the process but in the end, we die to our pride.
In today’s first reading, we see how Paul’s case has reached the ruling authorities. Israel was still a Roman colony. King Agrippa presented the matter to the Festus who was the Governor. He concluded by saying Paul was to be kept in custody until such a time that he would be sent to the Emperor.
How do we reconcile the great strides Paul was making for the sake of the Gospel with the fact that he spent most of his time in Prison? Why would God allow this good man, Paul to suffer like this? Simple answer: Paul was such a good branch, it was necessary for him to be pruned. Do you want to be a good Christian? Then expect that you will suffer the pain of being pruned from time to time. It is never going to be an all-rosy ride.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, give me the grace to remain faithful even in times of pruning. Amen.
*Happy New Month. Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Wednesday of the 5th Week of Easter, Bible Study: Acts 15:1-6, Psalm 103 and John 15:1-8).