April 29, 2018 – Pastoral Impressions by Fr. Bill

Our special image today is the vine and its branches as Jesus described to his disciples at his last discourse with them before he was arrested. Imagine being at table with him, enjoying some wine and being caught up in what Jesus was saying. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.” Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. That speaks of intimacy. We are children of God. The Father of Jesus loves him and that same Father is ours as well and loves us. Is there a catch somewhere here? Does it sound too good to be true?
It is true and it deserves some prayerful thought on our part. Jesus loves us enough to suffer terrible torture and crucifixion. Jesus died for forgiveness of sin—our sin. And it was done in love. Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. If we bear much fruit from this life we have in Jesus, the Father will be glorified in us as he was through Jesus.
This union of love is breathtaking. However, we are also free. We can accept this loving union, or we can reject it. We reject it by chasing after something else we think we would rather have. It might be greed, it might be fame or power. They must be kept in perspective, or they can pull us away from the amazing and wonderful union of love with the Father and the Son.
The Father sent the Son into the world to bring all of creation back to the Father. All of creation is stunningly beautiful. God gave humans the gift of freedom. He also told us that “We should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded”. This is our calling or vocation from God. When our freedom gets in the way, however, we can easily chase after something lesser. Possessions, fame, and power are not bad in themselves. It is when they get in the way of our loving union with the Father and the Son, that we must care. If we leave this loving union, where will we ever have hope or joy or love?

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