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Fifth Sunday of Easter - Year B

Spring is one of my favorite times of the year. Trees are budding and flowers are growing, and people are bursting with spring energy and anxious to go outside. It reminds me of being young again as I watch the children ride bikes and play kick ball. It is a time of new life.

Since coming to Montana I have learned that I indeed do have a green thumb. Every year that I have been here I have managed to grow a bumper crop of Dandelions in my lawn without me having to do a thing. The reason I bring all of this up is because of this week’s readings.

In our first reading we learn that early on in St. Paul's conversion things were not easy for him as many people were uncertain if he was truly a Christian or not, and some even plotted to kill him. In St. Johns first letter he tells us to do something radical and counter cultural. He tells us that we are to keep Jesus’ commandments and to love one another. This can be hard to do, especially if we “label” people or carry grudges. Our Lord brings it all home in the Gospel as He tells us that He is the true Vine, and we are the branches.

What does this mean? Well, think about a vine and its branches. In reality, they are one substance, one plant, one living organism. This shows the unity between Christ Jesus and His people. Our Lord continues with this spring time theme by telling us that we need to bear fruit. If we are the same Christians that we were 5 or 10 years ago, then what fruit have we brought forth? Is there any new life at all? If not, our Lord will prune us back in hopes that by clearing away the deadwood, new life will come forth.

So, this week as we get ready to garden and be outside, ask God what dead wood and old branches in your own life need to be pruned away so that new life can come forth. It may not be easy, but as St. Paul pruned away his past life and as St. John tells us to love one another, we too have to allow the Lord to cut away and trim back so that we too can bring forth new, beautiful fruit to lay before the King of kings. Something to think about. May God richly bless you always.

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