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  • Bill Miller

Scripture Reflection, April 28, 2024, Fifth Sunday of Easter

Acts of the Apostles 9:26-31 1 John 3:18-24 John 15:1-8



It seemed easy enough. So we thought we would grow some tomatoes in containers on the deck. We bought the little seedlings, built cages to support their growth and watered the plants faithfully. They grew really fast! I was pleased to see such green leafy bushes…but no tomatoes. At least very few. When my sister, who owns the green thumb in the family, took a look at our tomato plants she immediately saw the problem. She pointed out what she called “suckers.” “All the plant’s energy is going into leaves,” she said, “You have to get rid of these suckers so the plant can produce tomatoes!”

Pruning. It comes up in the gospel. "My father… takes away every branch that does not bear fruit and every one that does He prunes so that it bears more fruit.”

Our second reading cautions us: "Let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.“ Those tomato plants were producing leaves alright, but that is not what the plant was meant to do. It was supposed to produce fruit. Love in deed not just in word. And that took some pruning.

What does pruning feel like? How do we feel when God's action in our lives is “pruning?”

Two starry -eyed young people in love marry and soon find that their own wants and needs do not have the priority they once did. Now someone else's needs have to be considered…a kind of pruning.

You begin a new job. You are full of new ideas and enthusiasm to put those ideas into practice. And then you find yourself working with a team of people who have ideas of their own. You get pruned!

You join a committee created to work on a problem close to your heart. Soon you discover that not everyone has the same solution to the problem and each has to give a little to work together. Pruning… all around.

Deep inside each of us lives a two-year-old who would love to be the center of his or her own universe. But God has designed us to need each other. And the pruning we experience helps us love in deed rather than just in word. Allows us to become more fully what we are meant to be.

Each time we are asked to share our time or resources with another. To have less so that someone else can have more. To listen and make space for someone else's idea rather than insisting on our own. Each time… that pruning can make us better people, more loving people, more fruitful people.

by: Pat Schnee


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