May 10, Sixth Sunday of Easter

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Plumb tree revelation!

When I was a kid, we had a plum tree in the backyard. It was huge. I used to climb up inside of it and hide for hours from my brother. Never lost a game of Kick the Can! After a few years the branches of the tree became brittle and little fruit was produced. One Saturday morning I woke up to the sound of a chainsaw in my father’s hands and watched in horror as he “pruned” the tree. I use the term “prune” here to mean, “slash every branch to its origins and leave no appendage without at least half of its original length.” This tree was practically gone! I think I cried because I had lost my hiding place, and what was once a beautiful shade-providing element of my backyard now looked like the conclusion of a Shel Silverstein book. Sad day.

Two years later…my father’s wisdom bore through like you wouldn’t believe. The stump of a plum tree that I had completely abandoned hope of every playing in again gave my family more fruit to eat than a farmer’s market. My hiding place was never the same, but the joy of the living organism of foliage in my backyard had come to bless my childhood in ways that I could never have predicted. Not to mention, my brother and I hurled plums at one another for hours, laughing all the way to the dirty laundry and sticky showers!

This memory brought to light the Gospel for this weekend for me. He is the vine and we are the branches. In order to remain in Him and grow and bear fruit…we have to get pruned. It hurts to be trimmed back sometimes. It is tough when we encounter situations where we are shortened by constructive criticism or not given our way of things. Very few people like to be snubbed. Our despair stems from our inability to see the final orchard. We rarely can predict the harvest. The fruit is the result of labor, literally.

“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.” My dad knew there would be some lean times for that tree. He knew it wouldn’t be pretty or particularly inviting for a while. He also knew that in time, great fruit would be brought forth. Trust in the plan for your salvation in the most difficult times. In fact, invite the Lord to mold you and form you into His branch. The fruit you will bring to His kingdom is of Him and brought forth on His time. The beauty and invitation of the harvest is of Him. This great gift is cause for celebration in this Easter season!

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