INTRO: You all know I like to garden, but, it doesn’t take a horticulturalist, or a landscape architect to know the basic principal of why one does the act of cutting back your shrubs or plants. When one prunes……. it is all in order to STRENGTHEN the plant.
I am sure you all believe this. In addition it “rounds out” the plant or shrub, especially if it gets “overgrown” or “shabby looking”.
Now, have any of you been to party recently? Maybe a dinner party? What is it that you all talk about?
Basic stuff, probably…. Maybe your families’ situations…politics….current events…. Sports ….
Jesus gave a dinner party on HOLY THURSDAY, the Last Supper …… and scripture scholars identify His conversation at the LAST SUPPER as talking about the vine and the branches. The Gospel that was just proclaimed. The vine and the branches are a bit poetic, but, the metaphor is realistic.
He may be saying at this dinner party, his last meal before crucifixion,
“Okay Apostles, when I go…..I don’t want you getting “shabby” or “overgrown”. I want you to remain STRONG! And the way to do that is TO ALLOW MY FATHER into your heads and minds and hearts to “prune away” what’s NOT GOOD in you.”
God the Father did that for them after Jesus ascended into heaven …… they went out to the entire world baptizing in the name of the Lord. They were strong, not shabby or overgrown!
Today, God the Father should be doing that for me and you…. Pruning us or cutting back what is NOT GOOD IN OUR LIVES!
And……I got an idea of what that could be…… Bear with me.
In today’s first reading……way back at the beginning of the church…. The disciples were making QUICK JUDGEMENTS about people!!! Ahhhh THAT’S NOT GOOD! They needed that pruned away!
Maybe that’s what our church going today is meant for all of us to look at in our lives….
Do we, too, make QUICK JUDGEMENTS, about people?
The disciples were doing that to SAUL, who became Paul…, they were refusing to “accept” him at first as a follower of Jesus because of his past. Again, not good.
I know our minds (and sometimes even our words) do a number on us just when we look at people, who are not like us; we make quick bad judgements about people
• who roam the streets,
• are in the news
• who live around us,
• who have different color of skin,
• who express love differently
• who lead countries
We make quick judgements against our brothers and sisters ……… NOT GOOD! Informed opinions are a different thing… and that is good for you and me, but NOT QUICK JUDGEMENTS with rudeness, lacking charity…!
And as the landscape imagery is on us today…..ONLY GOD can “shape our shabbiness of poor judgmental behaviors” into a well-pruned member of the BODY OF CHRIST.
WE need to admit our overgrown prejudices and judgmental behaviors to God
And ask Him “How to best LOVE and ACCEPT all of God’s creation?”
God will lead us into change, but we have to admit the need to rid ourselves of quick judgments first before Him.
We are all called to holiness and a better version for ourselves and this liturgy wants us in GOOD SHAPE as a member of the BODY OF CHRIST that doesn’t make poor judgments about God’s people as we remain branches on His vine!