The early Church had lots of controversy. One of the hot topics of the day was circumcision. Did believers need to be circumcised like the Jews? In the first reading today from Acts 15, that question comes up and is taken to the Apostles for a decision.
In the Gospel reading from John 15, Jesus says, “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.” What is this “pruning” that we must undergo?
Plants don’t have a central nervous system. If they did, I suspect that pruning would be very painful. God needs to spiritually prune us; he cuts out those things in us that are not of him – things like anger, impatience, jealousy, prejudice and hatred. When these things are part of us, that pruning process can be excruciatingly painful. But just like a doctor removing cancer from a patient, it is for the best. The fruits are worth the pain.
Father, we give you permission to prune us today. Cut out all that pulls us from you, that we may bear fruit for the Kingdom. Amen.