I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. (John 15:5-6)
If God has any “pruning” to do so that we can become more fruitful disciples of Jesus, it can happen when we are attentive to the Word. What we hear may enable us to realize how often we have missed or ignored God’s outreach to us. It is something like the pain and embarrassment we feel when a friend has tried to do something nice for us and we missed the kindness, took it for granted or misinterpreted it. Such moments can be very painful indeed and can remind us not to let it happen again, lest we lose or damage our friendship. That’s similar to the “pruning” God is constantly doing through the Word. Hearing that Word we can recognize and respond with more awareness to God’s loving gestures towards us. We gather each week to stay connected to the vine and to one another, the branches. We also pray and resolve here today to be more attentive and responsive listeners.
How else can we hear Jesus’ word and thus remain in him? Besides liturgical celebrations, there are many ways to place ourselves in a listening mode; open to the possibility of hearing God’s Word: private prayer, scripture reading and meditation; reading past and present spiritual writers, etc.
God speaks to us in other, perhaps less obvious ways through: conversations with family and friends; casual conversations with people whose paths we cross daily, etc. We remember too Jesus telling us that he could be found among the poor and outcasts. When we are with them, we also strive to be listeners. Jesus uses to speak his words to us and help us “remain” in him and “bear much fruit?”
Fr Michael Smith, sj