|By Fr. Brendan McGuire
Pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, San Jose and Vicar General for special projects, Diocese of San Jose. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bear Fruit For God
Sometimes, we want to blame somebody else for the mess we get ourselves into. Other times we look upwards and blame God for it.
The reality is that bad things happen and sometimes bad things happen to good people. Life can be really difficult sometimes. We wonder, “Where is our God who claims to love us?” We don’t feel so connected to that vine. We feel often like branches without a vine. However, the Lord assures us that if we remain in him, he will remain in us.
God never leaves us. God is always with us and it is always our choice to remain in him. If we look at our lives through those eyes of faith, then we come to understand that maybe this is the time of pruning in our life.
God does not send these bad things to test us. He does not cause us to lose health so he can test our faith. Our God does not so capriciously. All those things do happen and they are allowed by God, yes. But then he comes and he prunes those dead things away so that we can produce even more fruit. A dead branch cannot produce fruit. He prunes those things off us but we have to allow it to happen. We have to sometimes allow the very painful process of being pruned. When we do, we produce even more fruit than we did before. It is a painful process but when we produce the fruit, we understand the greatness of God’s ways.
We have to remain in him and him in us for us to bear fruit. God cannot bear fruit in this world without the branches, without you and I allowing ourselves to be fruitful. Fruit does not grow on the vine, it grows on the branches. God needs us to produce the good fruit in this world; it is through us that he chooses to produce the good fruit. St. Teresa of Avila’s famous statement that: “Christ has no body in this world but ours. He has no hands, no feet in this world but yours and mine. He has only our eyes and our hearts to show compassion We are the hands and the feet of Christ.”
It goes back to the second reading from the Letter of John which says it is not enough just to say words, we have to do it in deed and actions. We have to believe and then act. That is the process of bearing the fruit.
Who can I be the hands and the feet of Christ to; who can I be the eyes of Christ to; who can I be the compassionate heart of Christ to because if not us then who? We are the ones who claim his name. If not us, then who? Today, not only do we celebrate the gift of being part of Christ the vine, God the vine grower and we are the branches. But we must bear fruit in our lives by acting like Christ to others.