THE gospel reading for the Mass on the 5th Sunday of Easter, Year B, talks about Christ telling his disciples that he is the true vine and God is the vine grower. Every branch that does not bear fruit, he said, would be taken away by God, and the branch that does would be pruned for it to bear more fruit. (cfr. Jn 15,1-8)

It’s quite clear from these words of Christ that we really need to be fruitful and productive in our life, not so much in terms of material and temporal gains as in terms of the real fruit that we need to bear: our sanctification, our identification with God who created us in his image and likeness, and who is testing us in this life if what he wants us to be is also what we would like ourselves to be.

In short, it’s a matter of whether we choose to follow God’s will or simply our own will!
We need to realize that our life is first of all a “project” of God before it is our own. He is the one who started it and who wants it to go along the way of his plans and designs. Ours is simply to correspond to his will as best that we can. This is what is meant by being fruitful in our life.

We have to be wary when we fail to bear the fruit God is expecting from us, because according to Christ’s words, God will cut us off from the true vine, Christ himself who as the true vine, offers us “the way, the truth and the life” proper to us.

We actually have no excuse why we cannot follow God’s will. That’s because Christ, the God who became man, has offered us and continues to offer us everything we need to achieve our true purpose in life.

This realization should urge us to make Christ truly the center of our life. He should be everything to us. Any moment or any aspect of our life where Christ is set aside should be considered as an anomaly in our life.

But given our tendency to say enough to whatever effort we make to follow God’s will, we should not be surprised that we experience some kind of “pruning” that God does on us to make us more fruitful and to continue doing good.

This pruning can take many forms—more challenges and trials in our life, some problems and crises that we are made to experience, etc. All these are meant to make us a better person, polishing the rough edges in our personality so we can become more and more like Christ, humble and willing take on anything for the glory of God and for the good of mankind.

This pruning is meant to develop more virtues, more skills, or to grow more in them. We are quite notorious to saying enough to what we already have accomplished. But we have to realize that the pursuit for the fullness of our humanity will never have any limit. God will be the one to complete and perfect things. Ours is simply to continue going as far as we can, without stopping or saying enough.

We should not be surprised, much less complain, when we notice that God continues to prune us in different ways. It can only mean that we are being made to become more and more like him which is the real fruitfulness meant for us!