KEYS TO FRUITFUL DIVINE CONNECTION REFLECTION FOR THE 5TH SUNDAY OF EASTER Rev. Fr. Boniface Nkem Anusiem Ph.D.

Without Me You Can Do Nothing - YouTube

Did you know that “life is impossible without connection!” Indeed, nothing exists without some connections to other realities. In other words, each reality on earth depends on another to function effectively, so nothing subsists on its own.

The human body could function on the strength of the connectedness of the various parts. Plants could stand because of the connection their roots have with the ground. Today, we depend so much on internet connection. A world without the internet is unimaginable.

Most success stories in life have links to some of the direct or indirect connections we make with people through networking. Connection is a powerful factor in human relations, especially when it is genuine.

In the Gospel of John (15:1-8), Jesus gives the divine angle to connection using the relationship between a vine and its branch. He says, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit because without me you can do nothing”.

Beyond the material connections lies the divine connection. Life itself would be impossible without God. God is the ultimate connection that can exist alone, and without God, all connections fail. In the passage, Jesus says, “anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither.”

The Keys and Fruits of Divine Connection

For every connection, there is a key. The same pattern applies to divine connection. The First Letter of John (1 Jn.3:18-24) says, among other things, that God’s commandment includes believing in His Son Jesus Christ and loving one another.

Here we note that the keys to divine connection are faith and love. Faith moves you to believe in God against all odds and even when it does not make sense (Hebrew 11:1ff). Love challenges you to trustful giving of your heart, soul, and mind to God.

In the Gospel passage, our Lord mentioned that the Father takes away every branch that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does bear fruit He prunes so that it bears more fruit; we have a lot to learn from here.

Accepting the Father’s Pruning!

Fruit-bearing is evidence of a productive connection. Our Lord further says that a branch needs pruning to bear more fruits. Pruning means cutting away the unwanted and wasteful areas of the branch, and the reason is to allow it to produce more fruit.

Bringing the message home, every Christian represents a branch attached to the vine, our Lord Jesus. Every branch stands as an expression of the productivity of the vine. Notice that the fruits grow on the branches, not in the vine stem itself. Christ is looking up to us to bring forth fruits.

The Father prunes the branches that are bearing fruits so that they could deliver more fruits. Pruning is not always a pleasant experience as it involves cutting away unnecessary parts though they may appear healthy and beautiful.

We often go through our respective pruning experiences with some of the things we encounter in life. It takes patience, understanding, and faith to accept those pruning processes that could involve a loss, disappointment, or some other painful experiences.

The good news is that God the Father is the one doing the pruning, and he prunes with profound care and love because He wants the best fruits to come out of us. The letter to the Hebrews (12:6) says that God chastises the one He loves and scourges the one he receives. It is indeed better to be pruned than to be cut off as a branch.

Moving Forward!

We are all parts of this great vine, and we have to support each other as we develop and bear fruits. It is not uncommon to see strong branches of trees supporting weaker ones until they become strong enough to strive. We need to do this as we all stay connected to the true vine.

Let us remain committed to our vocation and strive always to be true branches of the true vine. We achieve this through our faithful prayers and intentional love, and obedience to the directives of the Lord.

As we march through the new week, may God’s grace abide with us to remain intimately connected to the true vine every day of our lives.

Have a blessed week.

Fr. Bonnie.

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