Jesus in Us and Us in Jesus

From time to time, I read up on pruning in gardening manuals. The one phrase that has been most useful to me is that “every cut you make elicits a response from the tree.” So, good pruning keeps a plant healthy. Vines especially have to be pruned or they won’t produce fruit. They grow upwards toward the sun and if they cannot catch the light they will droop and wither. If left alone they will grow into a bushy mass and eventually die. Imagine a world without wine!

As a keen gardener I know the value of pruning to stimulate growth. The worse a shrub or a tree looks the stronger the pruning must be. I have hard pruned some shrubs, and they have still managed to come back with new healthy growth in the Spring. Like this blackberry tree in the picture which is flourishing – at last!

In today’s gospel Jesus is ‘eliciting’ a response from us to grow in our faith and he has given us the information we need to do this well. The word ‘abide’ is mentioned eight times – a clear indicator of the importance of remaining steadfast in our faith and he is letting us know that this path is not easy. However, it is an important element of bringing us closer to God which in turn translates into giving the life of God to each other. Jean Vanier the founder of l’Arche calls this “Jesus in us and us in Jesus” as God ‘uses us as mediators and instruments of grace.’

The message from Jesus is that God desires for us to be happy and fruitful in our lives so we can pass that on to the lives of others. To do this we must abide, which really means to ‘remain’ in our faith. To ‘remain’ we need to prune ourselves every so often to encourage and strengthen our gifts and faith, with the sure knowledge that, “if you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

Despite our failings and shortcomings, we must never forget that we are always unconditionally accepted and loved by God as we belong to him. God always knows our needs and provides them – for we are God’s creation.

 

 

 

 

 

Sr Susie O’Rawe OP