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  • Sarah Beth Dippel



On our neighborhood walks, Cris and I walk through a group of homes we refer to as "cube row." Lovingly, nicknamed for the square-shaped dwellings that look like cubes. Just as the snow was beginning to melt and the first buds of the season appeared, we noticed that someone pruned back the pussy willow trees lining the pathway. All the buds, gone. All signs of new life, cut away. In today's Gospel, the Lord tells us that the Father will prune away the branches that do not bear fruit so that the vine might be more fruitful. Temptations of the world, the devil, and even our self-righteous views can pull our focus away from the life offered to us in the Body of Christ, making us fruitless. When we allow the Word to dwell within us, He will prune away the parts of us that prevent us from bearing fruit. As a result, we can sometimes feel stripped down to our bare branches, like those pussy willows, as we let the Lord reshape us. Once freed from those things that are harmful to our life with Christ, we have new life in Him. Many of us have seen a loved one fall away from the Lord and His Church, whether it is from lack of faith, distractions of the world, or the belief that they do not need God. The Lord tells us that is not true. Without Him as the life source, our lives will be fruitless and wither like the pruned branches.

Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. JN 15:5

Our Lady urges us to pray and make sacrifices for the conversion of sinners. On this feast day of Our Lady of Fatima, let us pray for all those who have lost faith in our Lord. May the light of Christ dwelling in us offer them hope and charity that their hearts be converted back to the abundant mercy of God.

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