May 3, 2015 – Fifth Sunday of Easter
Acts 9:26-31; Ps 22: 26-28, 30-32; 1 Jn 3: 18-24; Jn 15: 1-8
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus reminds us how important each and every one of us is when He says, “I am the vine; you are the branches.” One of the central ideas in the spirituality of stewardship is how crucial each person is to the success and effectiveness of the community. Of course, together we can do so much more than each of us can individually.
Are you using your gifts? Are you using your gifts to build the community and to serve others? Jesus speaks of His Father “pruning” the branches that do not bear fruit. As is often the case in ancient Greek, a word can have two meanings. The word for “prune” is also the word for “cleanse.” That is the point the Lord is most likely making. Until we are “cleansed,” until we have sought conversion and change with the help of God, we are not able to fully fulfill our covenants with God.
Stewardship, of course, is a call to each of us to respond to our many gifts with thanksgiving and service. Fruits bear seeds within them. Our response to God’s call is to allow our seeds to produce more fruit. The author Robert Louis Stevenson said, “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.” As our Easter season continues, we need to make sure we are attached to the vine of the Lord, and that we are planting seeds.