"Apart From Me You Can Do Nothing"
Today's gospel reading in morning Mass got me thinking. Thinking about the absurdity of those who claim Catholics think they can earn their way to heaven and by the same folks who think you can never lose their salvation. Let's hear the word of the Lord:
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.”
Without abiding in Christ, remaining in Him, we can do nothing. When a Catholic is accused of "doing good works to get to heaven" the accuser is missing a very big point here. The faithful Catholic knows that by His grace and our faith we remain in Him and He provides the grace (impetus/power/desire/motivation) to bear fruit. Only by grace can we abide in Him and only by His grace we can remain in Him and only by virtue of our "branchedness" do we produce the fruits that He expects of us.
If we choose to detach ourselves from the vine, walk away from Christ, he tells us we will wither and be burned. St Paul further re-enforces this idea by telling the Church(the Christians) they they are grafted in and should be even less presumptuous to believe they can't be cast out if they start bearing bad fruit. "Do not become proud, but stand in awe. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and severity of God: severity towards those who have fallen, but God's kindness to you, provided you continue in His kindness: otherwise you too will be cut off." Rom. 11:20
Thank you Jesus for making me a part of your vine. Only by your grace Lord am I here. I pray that you keep me close to you and prune me so I bear much fruit for you and your Kingdom.
In Your name I pray Amen.