Gospel: (John 15:1-8)
Jesus said to his disciples: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.”
What do we look like when we are pruned? Some pruning creates a new shape for fruitfulness—
anything is taken away that does not lead us to Christ. We may end up a little misshapen—we
don’t act like others because we choose to be friendly and helpful to all without discrimination. We are allowing God’s words to remain in us. The fruit we bear blossoms from the intimate relationship we have with the Risen One. Fruitfulness is never for our own sake, but always for that of others. This kind of fruitfulness is what glorifies God—bringing others into closer relationship with God. Self-giving love motivated by the sheer joy of the resurrection opens us to fruitful pruning. Part of our pruning is dying to our prejudices toward others and allowing them to grow in their relationship with the risen Christ. Their growth is also our growth, a deeper share in the resurrected life. (Living Liturgy, p.128)
In the Manual we read: For Frederic, Vincentians transcended racial and national prejudices. They judged women and men strictly on their need, not on their color, nationality, education, morality. Vincentians are non-judgmental. A non-judgmental attitude excludes assigning guilt or innocence, or judging a person’s degree of responsibility for their needs or problems. St. Vincent appealed: “Deal with neighbors in a gentle, humble and loving manner, even with the most hardened of sinners, and never employ a vehement accusation or reproaches or harsh language toward anyone whomsoever.”(US Manual, P.24-25)
Discussion: (Share your thoughts on the readings after a moment of silence)
Do we need pruning to become more non-judgmental, to let go of some prejudices?
With grateful hearts we pray for the grace of pruning,
-Grant us the grace to be kind and loving.
For the poor we serve,
-Grant us the grace to be non-judgmental.
For the Society of St. Vincent de Paul,
-Grant us the grace to live the spirit of Frederic and Vincent. Amen