Sunday Reflections

5th Sunday of Easter – April 28, 2024

Reflection by:

Reflection by:

Fr. Jim Link, CR

When I was living at Louis Hall at St. Jerome’s University, we had a pine tree growing near the end of our deck. One winter, during a particularly heavy snowstorm, the weight of the snow bent one of the lower limbs to the ground and it split. Not wanting to lose it, I pulled out the Gorilla glue and some parachute cord and managed to prop it back up into position. But, alas, the wound was too deep, and the break had dealt a mortal blow to the limb. It took time, but eventually, it died. In the gospel reading this Sunday, Jesus describes himself as the vine and we are the branches. Anyone with any knowledge of gardening would easily understand the importance of staying connected to the vine.

In a similar line of thought, I always imagined our faith practice to be like physical exercise. We all know that exercise is a good thing to do for our muscles to keep them strong. Prolonged lack of exercise causes the muscles to atrophy, and they waste away. Not praying does the same with our relationship with God. And yet, staying connected is not a painless process; it takes effort and sacrifice. Jesus, using his botanical analogy, speaks of the necessity of pruning. Those with knowledge of gardening judiciously prune their plants to channel the plant’s energy and produce more fruit. The same will need to happen in any honest relationship with God. There will be things in our lives that will need to be pruned to make sure that our life energy is focused. Over the guest house door at the Gethsemane Trappist monastery in Kentucky, the words God Alone are chiseled into the stone. St. Paul, in the Acts of the Apostles, will remind us that it is in God that we live, move, and exist. We are never apart or outside of God — yet, how easily we forget.

Pruning helps us remember.

May our readings this Sunday remind us to stay connected to the one vine that will truly bring us life, Jesus, the only true Vine.

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