A reading from the holy Gospel according to John 15:12-17

Jesus said to his disciples:

“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.

No one has greater love than this,

to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

You are my friends if you do what I command you.

I no longer call you slaves,

because a slave does not know what his master is doing.

I have called you friends,

because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.

It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you

and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,

so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.

This I command you: love one another.”

REFLECTION: " ... go and bear fruit that will remain,

so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you."

Growing up we had a white-flesh grapefruit tree in our back yard. The fruit was delicious and I always said when I have a home I would get a grapefruit tree. One of my patients gave me two grapefruit trees and we eagerly planted them. I recall my dad did not do anything for our home grapefruit tree--just watered them. The conclusion was that there does not seem to be much talent in growing a grapefruit tree.

My gifted trees had been propagated through bud grafting and not from seed. I was quite disappointed when both trees lost all their leaves and became twigs. Death was just around the corner for these trees. We felt bad that such a generous gift was not going to survive. We started paying more attention to the trees, watering more often, checking out for disease, pruning, inspecting for insects etc. I was quite surprised when the trees started to look healthy and now we have a fruit, that looks more like a cross between a very large orange and a grapefruit. They are all growing at the top of the tree. Oh, well, they are still alive and the fruit is delicious!!

But it took vigilance and work to get them this way. I believe they are here to stay awhile.

There are many factors that will make a tree grow well--soil, environment, location, and care. I see these two trees as what happens in my prayer life. I have this desire to produce good fruits-- patience, kindness, love, praying and service. However, sin, bad company, television, laziness can cause life in me to stop. My prayer life has to be constantly tended, fed by prayer and reading the scriptures and the lives of the saints. Eventually our soul cultivates the presence of God in our every day and through continued work and petition with God's graces, many blessings will come my way. " ... go and bear fruit that will remain,

so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you." The fruits that I bear with God's continued graces and living within Him can be everlasting.

God Bless You.

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