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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

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Acts 15:1-6
Psalm 122:1-5
John 15:1-8

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cut the lord a break

"He prunes away every barren branch, but the fruitful ones He trims clean to increase their yield." —John 15:2

A glance at Scripture paints a picture of the Lord as a rather inconsistent Farmer. First, He goes crazy with the pruning shears, snipping off everything in sight, both fruitful and barren branches (Jn 15:2). In the next scene, the Lord cuts nothing at all. He refuses to cut weeds which threaten the fruitfulness of the adjoining wheat (Mt 13:30). Then the Lord allows an unproductive fig tree to go yet another year without fruit, so that it can have one more year of extra-special care (Lk 13:8ff). Next, He curses a fig tree without fruit, so that it instantly withers up (Mt 21:19). Finally, He allows unfruitful tenant farmers to treat Him with contempt for years. Instead of pruning these tenants, He allows them to kill His messengers and even His Son (Mt 21:34ff).

The main point to remember in these seemingly incongruous Scriptures is that the Father is the Vinegrower (Jn 15:1). God knows the proper actions to take in each situation and in each person's life. If we are being painfully pruned, it's tempting to compare our situation to that of others whom God treats with tolerance (cf Mt 20:12). Instead, we do better to cultivate an immediate response of gratitude for His every action, painful or gentle, in our own lives. Furthermore, we do well to rejoice whenever God shows patience and compassion to those less fruitful than ourselves. We must reach the point where we praise Him instantly when He treats others more mercifully than He treats us, praying: "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endures forever" (Ps 136:1ff). "Trust in Him at all times" (Ps 62:9).

Prayer:  Father, I will trust in You with all my heart and rely not on my own intelligence (Prv 3:5).

Promise:  "He who lives in Me and I in him, will produce abundantly, for apart from Me you can do nothing." —Jn 15:5

Praise:  John heard a call to become a priest, and obeyed that call.

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

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 21, 2014

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