The power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit are the themes I took away from today’s mass. In the gospel Jesus says he is the vine and we are the branches. Branches must be pruned every once in a while to bear fruit. Pruning can be a painful process, one that requires the removal of stuff that attaches to our souls and impedes growth. A lot of this stuff can accumulate as we go through our daily lives: pride, greed, envy, gluttony, sloth, etc. It hurts to have these things pruned away from our hides because the process opens our eyes to what damage we’ve done to ourselves and to others we love. But once these things are removed we can heal and become stronger and wiser so we can understand what the Holy Spirit is saying to us.
As the second reading tells us, Paul was pruned in this way. He started out as a tax collector and persecutor of Christians. His pruning process on the road to Damascus turned him into a strong and fruitful branch of Christianity. As today’s second reading states, at first he scared the other disciples. But with the help of the Holy Spirit, working through Barnabas, he bore much spiritual fruit. His writings inspire readers to this day.
God the Father prunes the branches of Christ’s grapevine so the Holy Spirit can send his message through it. We are called to be fruitful in passing it through the branches of our family trees. In that way, we will share spiritual prosperity:
“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for whatever you please and you will get it. It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit and be my disciples.”