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Pruning and Making Disciples

By: Guest blogger on May 4th, 2024

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Pruning and Making Disciples

Mass  |  Living the Faith  |  Catholic Faith  |  Gospel of John

This is the tale of two fruit plants. In my yard, I have an apple tree in my backyard and a blueberry bush in the front. The apple trees I never prune, and they are now a bit out of hand — they produce bad fruit or, honestly, no fruit most years. The blueberry bush in the front, however, I prune the dead and fruitless branches each year. Because I do this pruning, we get a good crop of blueberries each year. My daughter, Faith and I pick and eat the berries right from the bush; you can’t get any fresher than that! 

Now I know nothing about pruning grape vines but back in biblical times that must have been what people were familiar with as it is so deeply rooted in the Old and New Testaments. We hear it in Isaiah 5, The Song of The Vineyard as well as in John’s Gospel. We also read of it in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In Chapter 1108: 

In every liturgical action the Holy Spirit is sent in order to bring us into communion with Christ and so to form his Body. The Holy Spirit is like the sap of the Father's vine which bears fruit on its branches 

I love that analogy. God the Father sent His Only Son into the world for our salvation. God the Son ascended into Heaven and sent us God the Holy Spirit to give us the sap of the vine of Christ. The nourishment we need to keep our souls alive! 

Profitable Pruning 


Now sometimes pruning hurts. An example of this comes in the story of the conversation of Saint Paul, also known as Saul (Acts of the Apostles). Saint Paul needed pruning. In a flash of light, Jesus spoke to him, knocking him to the ground. Saul was blind for three days; he didn’t eat or drink at all until Ananias healed him. The Scriptures reveal that even years after Saint Paul’s pruning and conversion the Apostles struggled to trust him. It took Barnabas vouching for him to convince the Apostles of Paul’s trustworthiness.  

So, that brings us to the present day and asks ourselves: What do we need to prune from our lives? What are the things that block our view of Jesus and how can we remove them? Don’t worry, Jesus will help us to do this pruning, just reach out to Him.  


Here are just a few ways you can accomplish pruning in your life:  


  • Pray, and if you can, spend time in adoration with Jesus, and ask Him to point out the withered branches in your life that need to be removed.   
  • Receive the Sacrament of Confession. Tell Him, in Confession, the sins you want to be pruned; or maybe struggle to allow God to prune. Sure, sometimes some of the bad branches will grow back, and when they do go back to Confession again!   
  • Receive the Eucharist in a state of grace. When we receive the Eucharist — the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Lord, Jesus Christ—we become, for a few minutes, a living tabernacle. An embodiment to Jesus’ words in John’s Gospel, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).  


Making Jesus Present to Others 


If we do these things, along with proclaiming Christ to others Jesus will be more present to us! Recently, one of the intercessory prayers in the morning Liturgy of the Hours was: 

You are present to all who preach your Gospel, and give power to their words — make us today preachers of your resurrection by our holiness in life. 

You may wonder if it will work, will my making Christ more present to others really make a difference? I’d like to share a powerful example from a very simple act.  


Faith's Ripple Effect 


A few men from my parish men's group created a tri-fold flyer from one of Father Matthew Gill’s homilies entitled Why Come to Mass on Sunday? The flyers were placed at the doors of the church, hoping those who attend Mass would share them with somebody who isn’t currently attending. We also sent them out to parishioners on our parish mailing list we hadn’t seen in a while. Shortly after Easter, following the 4 o’clock Mass, a gentleman asked me if I was part of the men’s ministry because he wanted to thank them for the flyer. He said it has been ten years since he had been to Mass, and it was the flyer that inspired him to return. He told me “The lost sheep has been found!” 

However, I know it was not only the flyer that touched this man’s heart. In addition to creating physical paper to send, we also prayed it would reach those who most needed it and for grace to move those who would read it! Each Sunday, upon our dismissal from Mass, our prayer should be that we go forth announcing the Gospel to the world just like Saint Paul, one of the greatest missionaries the Church has ever seen.  

Mother Angelica once said, The Lord God has no one else but you. You’d better get off your lead bottoms and go out there and change this pagan world!” 


Kevin Gingras



Deacon Kevin Gingras was ordained in 2019 to the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese of Fall River. He's been married to wife, Allison for nearly 35 years, and is a father of three.