"As the banker walked away tear welled up in his eyes. He knew the Lord had spoken to him through the stone mason."
In the year 2000 Pope Saint John Paul II called for a Jubilee Year and a forgiveness of third world debt. This call was largely ignored and in less than 10 years the world suffered a global financial crisis.
During this crisis, which has been called the worst since the great depression of the 1930s, countless numbers of people suffered financial ruin.
One such person had been a successful banker. But in the crisis he lost everything. He lost his job, his beautiful home, and a sizable fortune. To add to his misfortune his wife died. But in spite of all this he held on to his faith, the only thing he had left, the only thing that could not be taken away from him.
One day, as he was out searching for a job, he came across some stone masons who were doing work on a very large church. One of the masons was chiseling away at a triangular piece of rock. “where are you going to put that?” he asked the worker.
The worker paused for a moment and looked up near the top of the church. “Do you see that little space, that opening near the top of the spire? Well I'm shaping this stone down here, so it will fit in up there.”
As the banker walked away tear welled up in his eyes. He knew the Lord had spoken to him through the stone mason.
Similarly we are being shaped and pruned down here, so we can fit in up there.
The parable of the vine should be a comforting one for us. We are all branches of the one true vine. We are dependent upon the Lord in all we do. “Without me, you can do nothing,” – no matter how much we think we can accomplish by ourselves. We can only bear fruit if we remain grafted to the vine.
And as such, if we bear good fruit we can expect to be ‘pruned.’ God will prune us just as a gardener trims and cuts back a plant so that it will grow stronger and bear even more fruit. The Lord teaches us today to look at all our sufferings and trials through the eyes of faith. We need to see the difficulties we encounter in our daily lives as pruning, by which we are being disciplined and trained so that we may grow stronger in holiness and bear fruits of righteousness.
Who are the branches? The Church frequently distrusts converts, as the early Church distrusted Paul, but we must remember that Jesus Christ Himself, not men, selects people to be His branches.
And how do we know that we are branches truly rooted in the vine? We keep His commandments, and do what pleases Him. We love one another as the Lord commanded us. If we do this then He will remain in us as we remain in Him. Then we can be confident that we are truly rooted in Christ and bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
5th Sunday of Easter
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© Lawrence Klimecki
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Deacon Lawrence draws on ancient Christian tradition to create new contemporary art that seeks to connect the physical and the spiritual.. For more information on original art, prints and commissions, Please visit www.DeaconLawrence.org
Lawrence Klimecki, MSA, is a deacon in the Diocese of Sacramento. He is a public speaker, writer, and artist, reflecting on the intersection of art and faith