THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
BEARING MUCH FRUIT
Today’s gospel: John 15:1-8
Jesus tells us, “I am the true vine, and my Father is
the vine grower.” (v.1). In addition, “I am the
vine, you are the branches.” (v.5a). Here is the relationship
between the Father and the Son, and the relationship between
the Son and us, and thus the relationship between the Father
and us. There is the intimate connection, from the Father,
to Jesus, to us. The consequences of this intimacy are important
for us to know.
we are to bear not just fruit, but much fruit. “By this
is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become
my disciples.” (v.8). Disciples do the work of the Master.
Jesus won salvation for all. We are now to proclaim that salvation.
If we are to be true disciples, then we must do an effective
work of evangelization. Further, bearing much fruit is how
we give the glory back to the Father.
we can only bear fruit as we are attached to Jesus. “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.” (v.4). Further, as we are
called to bear much fruit, then this intimate connection becomes
even more crucial. “Whoever remains in me and I in him
will bear much fruit” (v.5b). Thus we must walk the
path of Jesus. We must be intimate with him in prayer and
reading the Bible. We must strive for holiness and Christian
perfection. Jesus tells us the sober truth: “because
without me you can do nothing.” (v.5c).
God continues to prune us, even as we are producing fruit.
Jesus says that “every one that does (bear fruit) he
prunes so that it bears more fruit.” (v.2b). The Lord
is not content is just seeing us get by with a little. He
has entrusted to us his disciples this most important work
of proclaiming the gospel. Thus he deepens and strengthens
our spirituality, our endurance, our perseverance, our commitment.
This happens as God prunes us through the cross, ridding us
of our laziness, comfort, complaining, dissent, doubt, pride,
being self-referential, lack of giving.
God discards us if we do not bear fruit. “He takes away
every branch in me that does not bear fruit” (v.2a).
We see that every member of the body of Christ is supposed
to bear fruit. One cannot be a member of the body and just
not contribute to the good of the body. One cannot just take.
If the branch continues to take life-giving sap from the vine,
but gives nothing in return, then that branch is useless,
and if useless, is to be cut off and thrown away. “Anyone
who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch
and wither” (v.6a). And of course, cut off from the
Lord, one will wither and die. In fact, the eternal consequence
can be devastating, as “people will gather them and
throw them into a fire and they will be burned.” (v.6b).
Not producing fruit for the Kingdom, no longer connected with
Jesus, not obeying the commission to proclaim the gospel,
not on fire with the Spirit, one can only look to that other
Now fruit of course comes in different ways. There is personal
spirituality. One can be a contemplative nun in a cloister,
and one’s participation is prayer and sacrifice (very
important of course). But if one is called to be an evangelizer
(as indeed everyone is), and especially if one is part of
a community whose charism it is to evangelize, and in fact
to do rapid and massive evangelization (as we are in CFC-FFL),
then fruit will be judged on those terms. How are we bearing
fruit? In what ways are we contributing to the work? If we
cannot actually be in the frontlines of the war, how are we
interceding for our work, how are we supporting our work with
our finances, how are we striving to bring unity and peace
in the body so that it can focus on its assault on the one
we have been privileged in CFC-FFL, because we have our formation
and our pastoral support, because we have our distinct calling
and charism, more is expected of us. God has indeed blessed
us with so much. “You are already pruned because of
the word that I spoke to you.” (v.3). All the more,
we thus have a greater responsibility.
says, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.”
(v.7). Now that is the key to being empowered to witness.
We can call upon Jesus who is the vine to whom we are attached.
But we must make sure we indeed are attached, that we are
growing to be like him, that we are fully abiding in him,
that we are obedient to his commands, that we live the life
he has made known to us, that we are faithful to our call
and our covenant, that we are working at peace and unity in
the body, that we are striving to be saints, martyrs and warriors.
we are, then ask Jesus for whatever and it will be done for
you. But what we ask has to be in accordance with his will.
Know what God’s will is for you and for our community
of which you are a part. Then confidently ask.