Gospel Reflection: When Jesus Asks Us To Remain

by Gospels

“The branch must choose between one thing and another:
either the vine or the fire.”

Saint Augustine, Homily 81.3

Wait

Before the vine bears fruit, we need to wait and have patience. First of all, there is the time in which the vine is planted: a long time must pass before it grows, it must become stronger, and someone needs to take care of it constantly without seeing any apparent results at the moment. The farmer must have not only a lot of patience but also a lot of trust, not to mention everything that can intervene to make the growth of the vine more difficult, such as bad weather and accidents that are not predictable. Yet if we want to reap the fruit, we must necessarily wait.

Rush

This also applies to our relationships, from which we exit perhaps too hastily, driven by our emotional storms, especially when pruning occurs, when we are wounded and pruned. It seems to us that we are dying, but in reality, pruning allows us to bear more fruit. It is evident that this also happens in our relationship with God because we are not always willing to wait for His time; we are not always happy with His ways. We also walk away from the relationship with Him; we no longer trust Him, and we put Him aside. Maybe we even stay at home with Him, but we no longer speak to each other and we begin to feel like He is someone who oppresses us or who has disappointed us.

Stay

Speaking to the disciples, Jesus tells them to remain, perhaps to say that this is the verb of love. Staying means giving the other another chance, not running away and letting yourself be overwhelmed by your anger, and trying to understand what happened. Perhaps it is not always possible to stay because once the branch is broken, it is no longer possible to return. It may happen that even in the relationship with God, we decide to leave, but perhaps that is precisely the moment in which we begin to die because life no longer reaches us, we dry up, and the world will only use us to burn us. In fact, without the Lord we cannot do anything, indeed we become nothing.

Escapes

This invitation of Jesus to stay is probably also an appeal that He addresses to His disciples: the time is being prepared in which Jesus will distance himself from the community, and then we will have to learn to resist and remain in the relationship in a new way. The prunings, the passion, the injustice, the drama will come. If the disciples have the courage to remain, despite the pruning, then their lives will flourish. This invitation to stay probably also resonated in the Johannine community, perhaps in the time of persecution, due to which many Christians had preferred to leave, unable to face the ordeal of pain and suffering.

Trust

Staying means trusting the farmer. The branch does not know what is best for it. If Jesus is the vine to remain attached to, the Father is the farmer, He is the one who knows where to put His hands and what is best for each branch. This is why staying means trusting and letting the Father sometimes intervene, even with pruning. At the moment, it is difficult to understand them, but over time, we will realize how they have helped us bear fruit.

Reflect

  • Do you hastily choose to leave or can you courageously stay?
  • What are the prunings through which God has allowed you to bear more fruit?

This reflection originally appeared HERE.

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