Fifth Sunday of Easter
Fifth Sunday of Easter Homily Transcript
>>In today’s gospel there happens to be a couple phrases, a couple images, a couple proclamations from Jesus that give us a little bit of a pause. In fact, they might even scare us a little bit, or they might even think this is kind of harsh.
And those phrases are that the branches that aren’t producing fruit will be cut and that those who are producing fruit will be pruned. And that those branches will then be thrown into the fire. Now I don’t know about you, but that gives me a little bit of a pause – that gives me a little bit of a anxiety. But let’s take a close look at that, if you will.
I want to talk about the line that comes right after the ‘pruning’ line. And Jesus tells His listeners, His disciples, He says in fact:
You my disciples, you the ones who’ve been traveling with me, you the ones who’ve been following me faithfully, you the ones who’ve been making this journey alongside me, you have already been pruned.
What is he saying to Jesus? He’s inviting them to remember that so much of what they’ve done, so much of the journey they’ve had has meant for them to look into their hearts just as we’ve done over the course of our own Lenten journey that we took over the course of the last many months.
So much of what Jesus is saying is that, look you’ve learned what it means to forgive, you’ve learned what it means to love your enemy, you’ve learned what it means to reach out to the least among us, you’ve learned all that and in doing so you’ve been pruned.
But I don’t want to let us off the hook that easy. Certainly, there’s been areas in our lives that we’ve been pruned, for sure. But I want to push even a little bit further to the last line of the gospel. When Jesus invites us to make sure that we bear fruit so that we might become His disciples. Now that’s the goal.
And so, I think we have to look at any pruning that has to happen in our own lives in light of what it means to be disciple. And I’ve talked about this before, I’ll say it again. A disciple, we hear about very specifically is one who prays, who serves, and who shares.
Now we as Catholics are great prayers, we are great people who serve all the time in the name of Jesus, ah, and we certainly are one who share our time, talent, and treasure – but not so much our faith. And so, we’re encouraged to share our faith. And sometimes, sometimes sharing our faith is really hard. Sometimes we’re embarrassed. Or we feel self-conscious. Or our ego gets in the way when we don’t want to share our faith.
Maybe that’s the area that we’re called to prune. Maybe we’re called to prune that embarrassment about talking about Jesus, about how powerful Jesus is in our lives, how we come to the Eucharistic table because we want to be so close to Jesus – and we’ve got to prune away the embarrassment or the ego or the self-consciousness around that and share. “Yeah, this is who I am. This is what I believe and this is what I live.”
Just last night I was with my family for a party, we’re finally able to get together again, and my family – somebody in my family, my brother-in-law’s niece was talking about how she’s been enlivened by Christ during the pandemic, she found a meditation book, and she’s learning to trust Jesus in a way she’s never trusted Jesus before in her life. And she shared that with me! And I was there listening to her, I said, “Tell me more!” and we had this vibrant conversation, vital conversation about her journey with Jesus.
Huh? Bear much fruit, so she might become my disciple. I found a disciple last night, she was clearly and she was excited and renewed and full of life because of her discipleship.
Where do we need to be pruned, such that we continue as Jesus’ disciples?
Perhaps this Easter season we have the opportunity to reflect on that and rededicate ourselves to the journey of discipleship.
1 John 3:18-24
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