Fifth Sunday of Easter
May 2, 2011
Marlene Milasus, OSB, Benedictine Sisters of Elizabeth, NJ
It seems that I’ve always shared my life with potted plants. Remember those spider plants that were so popular a few decade ago? Well, I have several generations of them. They are somewhat assertive and invasive, but also quite impressive in their ability to produce junior plants that can be cut off and rooted, or left to flourish by their continued physical connection to the mother plant. They’re not fussy, either. They forgive me when I forget to water them, and the slightest hint of more light in January is enough to start off a whole new generation of little spider plants, patiently waiting until they get their own pots.
Today’s Gospel, from John 15, speaks of the vine and the branches. The connection is obvious, of course: the Risen Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches. We share Jesus’ life so radically that cut off from that Resurrected life, we really have none of our own, although our false self may try to convince us otherwise.
When I prune off the young plants, it always feels painful to me, but in fact the mother plant seems to gather up new strength for its foliage and for yet more young plants to come. We, too, get pruned—Jesus promises this—and although it may be painful, we’re asked to trust that process, and even more to trust God who’s doing the pruning.
In this time of uncertain futures, especially within religious life, let’s commit to recognizing the pruning process, to trusting the One who does the pruning, and to rejoice in the new life that has been promised and that we can be very sure lies ahead.
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Sister Marlene Milasus is a member of Benedictine Sisters of Elizabeth, NJ, St Walburga Monastery. Currently, she is serving as community treasurer and liturgist. She works in a monastery retreat program and is a licensed New Jersey boiler operator!