Getting detached from Jesus is like a withering branch cut from the vine and thrown onto the ground. This is what it was like when I turned my back on Him. I remember my own experience of agony while I was away from Him. Long before entering the seminary, I lived a sinful life that led me to an unfruitful life, like a branch away from the vine.
It started in college. I enjoyed so much freedom living away from my parents. I established new friendships and explored the outside world beyond the four corners of the university and my own home. I abused the freedom my parents gave me. I began to skip my Sunday obligation. I started questioning my faith but was not ready to accept answers I did not agree with. I also lost my appetite for prayer. Bad things started to surface within me. I became attracted to vices. Whenever struggles come, I turned not to prayer but to worldly allurements for consolation. I embraced vices and discarded virtues, especially those that the Church teaches. I suffered greatly in my career. It later dawned on me that my life was going nowhere. I again started asking questions, seeking help and finding the truth about the purpose of my life. These led me back to the faith and the desire to offer my life in the service of the Church.
Today’s Gospel challenges me to remain in Jesus so that I may grow and bear fruit. The Gospel reminds me clearly that, as a branch of the vine, I cannot do anything without Him, and must remain in Him, or else I would be a lifeless branch once again.
By: Sem. Alvin R. Cedo
Jesus said to his disciples:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
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.
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.
Anyone who does not remain in me
will be thrown out like a branch and wither;
people will gather them and throw them into a fire
and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified,
that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”