There is a long tradition in Medjugorje of producing wine from the vines grown in gardens and fields, and there is hardly a family that does not have a canopy outside its house to train and grow grapes. So in Medjugorje there are many vine-dressers!
But none more so than our Heavenly Father!
When we travel to Medjugorje, especially if visiting for the first time, I would say the last thing any of us come prepared for is pruning! But it happens to most pilgrims.
Vine-dressers will know that to ensure a good harvest of fruit, pruning is a necessity. Similarly, so it is with ourselves. Pruning, cutting back, administering first aid, is necessary for us who have been damaged by the ravages of sin in our lives, when we are in danger of becoming dead wood. It is an ongoing remedy that the vine-dresser must attend to if he desires good fruit from the branches of his vine. Undisciplined, we meander aimlessly and lose direction, and sight of our real purpose in life. We have need of focus, by restraint and training. The tendrils in our life need to be pruned or removed so as not to sap our energy or smother what we are created for: to produce good fruit, the love of God and our neighbour.
In today’s Gospel (John 15 : 1-8) Jesus tells his disciples that he is the true vine and that his Father is the vine-dresser; that the Father prunes the branches that bear fruit so that even more fruit is produced.
To us, pruning may seem a painful and drastic mesure but in this Gospel passage Jesus reveals that his disciples are already pruned by means of the word he has spoken to them.
For some the Word of God is difficult to accept. There is a reluctance to be pruned. For others it is life itself. But without the Word we cannot produce good fruit in abundance, we cannot live, we wither and die.
Our Lady’s messages from Medjugorje repeat the Word of God, they call us to reconcile with her Son and each other, to follow Jesus. So is it any wonder that those who respond and accept, and live the messages of Our Lady, produce good fruit? Fruits that are blessed: conversion, prayer, love and peace, the return to the Sacraments, to the Eucharist, to penance and fasting. Fruits that nourish and bring life to our neighbour. New Wine. Medjugorje Wine.
In Mirjana’s last message received from Our Lady on March 2, our Blessed Mother spoke of our need to be purified and prepared for her Son – can we say pruned? – in a way to be able to receive the grace of God.
Dear children! Also today, as I am with you in the great love of God, I desire to ask you: Are you with me? Is your heart open for me? Do you permit me to purify and prepare it for my Son? My children, you are chosen because, in your time, the great grace of God descended on earth. Do not hesitate to accept it. Thank you. March 2, 2008