Disciples of Jesus bear a lot of fruit, and they can grow weary. They need energy, because they are consumed as they live out their calling. A major battleground of a veteran disciple is the temptation to invest time in people or things they enjoy, which "give them life" and re-energize them. After a while, the disciple can find himself or herself being energized enough by this source that they come to it to get energized instead of coming to Jesus (cf Mt 11:28).
At this point, the activity is a "sucker branch" that not only bears no fruit, but also consumes the disciple's time so they don't have much time or energy to bear fruit. These activities may be good things or even religious activities. Yet if we won't yield these activities to the will of God for the purpose of bearing fruit, the Father will soon come with a sharp sickle to cut them off. "He prunes away every barren branch" (Jn 15:2) from our life. He insists we bear fruit for His glory (Jn 15:8). Anything that keeps us from bearing fruit has to go. Whatever doesn't help bear fruit will soon wither and die (Jn 15:6; Mt 21:19).
Jesus is the Vine, our Energy, and our Strength (Ps 18:2). He knows we grow weary, so He invites us to come to Him to be refreshed (Mt 11:28). He consumes us (Heb 12:29). However, as we are consumed by Him, we are not burnt out (see Ex 3:2). Instead, we receive sustaining energy (Col 1:29; Heb 1:3) and new life (Jn 10:10). In Jesus, the Source of our strength, we have strength for everything (Phil 4:13).
|Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from April 1, 2011 through May 31, 2011.
†Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, XXX 11, 2011.