“Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:2).
In the parables of the Lost Coin, the Lost Sheep, the Prodigal Son, more attention is placed on the lost (the strayed, the sinner). So what happens to the good guy? What is the lot of the ninety-nine obedient sheep? Jesus answers in today’s Gospel passage. For choosing to be the good sheep, for making effort to bear fruits, for deciding not to get lost, for not breaking away from the vine, the reward one gets is constant pruning. What does it mean to be pruned? It literally means going under the knife. Pruning is something farmers do simply to encourage growth and achieve their desired outcome in a plant. As Jesus says, “the branch that does bear fruit is pruned, that it may bear more fruit.”
Pruning is shaping. It usually involves cutting off rough edges, taking out dead leaves etc. In other words, when God prunes us, He shapes us, cutting off here and there those things that are preventing us from growing spiritually that we may bear more fruit. The truth is that pruning is painful. To be pruned is to suffer something; it is having to swallow some bitter pills or being pierced with an injection. Sometimes we end up praying against these seemingly negative circumstances we face not knowing that we are simply being pruned. And the truth is that it is through these pruning experiences that we get to be better Christians.
Do you hope to bear fruits? Then expect constant pruning. It is never going to be an all-rosy ride. Let us pray: Lord Jesus, give me the grace to remain faithful even in times of pruning. Amen. Bible Study: Acts 15:1-6, Psalm 103 and John 15:1-8).