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Sunday, May 14, 2006

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Fifth Sunday of Easter

Acts 9:26-31
1 John 3:18-24
Psalm 22:26-32
John 15:1-8

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nuts about fruit

"My Father has been glorified in your bearing much fruit and becoming My disciples." —John 15:8

It's late tonight and I'm tired. In my prayer for this teaching, I'm telling God I want sleep now rather than asking for fruitful words to write so He can be glorified (Jn 15:8). I don't want to hear about being pruned (Jn 15:2). Does this sound familiar?

The battle over bearing fruit really shows who is lord of our lives, Jesus or us. We can bear any fruit God requires of us, because the energy required to produce the fruit comes unfailingly from Jesus, the Vine (Jn 15:1). Rooted in Jesus, we "will produce abundantly" (Jn 15:5). So it's not a lack of energy, but either a lack of trust in His provision or a lack of desire to glorify God by staying rooted in Jesus and bearing His fruit (Jn 15:8).

What fruit don't we want to produce? Is it having more children, increasing our tithing, fasting more, evangelizing door to door, witnessing to co-workers, giving up possessions, pruning our lifestyle, defending life, or going public with our faith? Are we satisfied with producing only our current quota of fruit? God wants to "increase [our] yield" (Jn 15:2), so He'll be coming soon with the pruning shears.

Questions such as these pierce our hearts and reveal our desires. Do we desire to be pruned because we want so much for God to reap a greater harvest of faith? Or is it our desire to limit or control God's pruning and intervention in our lives? With Mary, the expert on bearing fruit (see Lk 1:42), let's answer God: "Be it done to me as You say" (see Lk 1:37).

Prayer:  Father, I trust Your pruning far more than I trust the world's best surgeon to operate on me. Be glorified through me.

Promise:  "The church...was making steady progress in the fear of the Lord." —Acts 9:31

Praise:  Praise Jesus, risen from the dead, "the Resurrection and the Life" (Jn 11:25).

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 27, 2005

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