From a Creighton Student's Perspective
May 9, 2012
Freshman, Undecided Major, Pre-Med
Today’s Gospel presents an image of Jesus that is probably familiar to us all; he is the vine, and we are the branches, and we must remain connected to him if we desire to bear fruit. I think that one of the most important questions we can ask ourselves is what sort of fruit we are bearing.
There are three types of branches on the vine. First, there are those branches which bear good fruit. These are the ones that remain in Christ and draw near to him in times of trouble. Second, there are the branches that bear bad fruit. These branches represent those individuals who are following things other than God in life. They pursue worldly power, glory, riches, and fame. They surround themselves with things that are passing by, and in doing so, they are cut off from a personal relationship with Christ Jesus. Finally, there are branches that produce no fruit at all. These branches are those people who dedicate themselves to nothing and who pursue nothing in life. They feel apathetic towards God and have no desire to unite themselves with him, yet they do not associate themselves with worldly things. We tend to think of these individuals as agnostics or skeptics, and I think Jesus is addressing them in this beautiful image.
In the battle between good and evil, there is no “middle ground.” We are either fighting on the side of Christ or against him. As Blaise Pascal taught, man is in the middle between God and nothingness, and he must choose between the two. If we do not choose God, we are no better off than those who choose nothing. We cannot remain in the middle and still follow God because turning towards Jesus is turning away from something else. We must either produce good fruit or bad fruit. We must either be for God or else we are against him. Many of us do not like to make commitments and we pray, “God, I will follow you, as long as you don’t ask too much of me,” or “Jesus, I love you, but don’t ask me to do something I am uncomfortable with.”
Christ is not calling us to live ordinary lives, but rather extraordinary ones. He is calling us to be uncomfortable because in our discomfort, we will depend on him even more. I think that is what it means to be holy and a hero. The saints and all the holy men and women who have gone before us are the heroes of our Faith. They each overcame their discomfort. Mother Teresa moved halfway around the world and began caring for the sick and dying in the poorest area of the world, but we do not need to move to Calcutta, India to be uncomfortable. We need only to examine those areas in our own lives that we fear. Perhaps we fear standing up for our faith because others might see. Perhaps we fear talking about our faith because we don’t think we know it well enough. Perhaps we fear praying grace before eating our meals in the cafeteria simply because no one else is. Jesus, we ask you to give us the strength to follow where you lead, to overcome our fears, and to learn to bear good fruit so, one day, we will live forever with you.
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