Stay Connected TO Christ Through Prayer

2024년 4월 28일

Stay Connected TO Christ Through Prayer

< Fifth Sunday of Easter >

 In 1982 my parents flew to Korea to visit me and my new church in Masan. I met them at the airport in Seoul and together we took the train down to Kyung Sam Nam Do. The five hour trip gave my parents a chance to see the beautiful Korean countryside. My father got particularly excited when we passed several grape vineyards. “Look!” he said. “Italians live here!” I was confused and asked “Where?” He pointed out the window. “Look at the grapevines! Italians live here!” There was no way to prove him wrong or convince him that, in all likelihood, Koreans owned those grapevines. But from then on, he felt more at home. He had grown grapes all his life and anyone who appreciated grapes and grew them were all right in his book.

In today’s gospel Jesus compares our relationship with him as branches connected to a vine. If the branch is cut, it withers and dies. The branches only lived as long as they remain attached to the vine. But even this is not enough. It’s necessary to trim the branches every year or else the grapes become small and sour. By pruning the branches, a good harvest is produced. How does God prune us? When we fail, when we lose something, when we have to give something up or say goodbye, all these, however painful, are invitations to renew our commitment to Christ. And the fruit we bear is this: the power to forgive and the humility to admit we made a mistake and ask forgiveness; the courage to speak out against injustice; the strength to stand with those who are oppressed; the patience to listen to someone’s story; the generosity to give to those in need. In short, whenever we put the gospel into practice in our lives, we give witness to Christ and people who see us will exclaim, “Look! Catholics live here!”