One day, St Francis and another friar went out to preach. As they came to the town square, the friar was shocked that St Francis did not permit any utterance or preaching, but just to walk without saying a word to anyone. As they got to the end of the town, the surprised friar asked, I thought we were going to preach in this town? But St Francis answered, “we just did.” At that point, St Francis believes that their disposition and action would preach better to the people. Another remarkable icon of God’s fruitfulness is St Mother Theresa of Calcutta, who is highly revered and honoured till date because of her unreserved love for the will of God in caring for the sick and the poor. Their corporal work of mercy and love brought people closer to God, who is the author of Love. This shows that our good lives as Christians becomes the Holy Bible people read in order to experience God’s love and conversion. It is for this reason that today’s second reading reminds us not to love God only in word or speech, but in deeds and truth.
This can only be achieved when our lives reflect on the words of Christ in today’s Gospel which says, “he who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” indeed Fruitfulness in the love of God and our neighbour is the essence of our Christian discipleship otherwise there is no point being followers of Christ. Dear Friends in Christ, practical fruitfulness in our daily life bears source from Jesus Christ the true vine, who wants to work through us to build up others in faith and morals. This is truly evident in the corporal works of mercy: to feed the hungry, to give water to the thirsty, to clothe the naked, to give shelter to the harbourless, to visit the sick, to visit the imprisoned and to bury the dead. On the other hand, is the spiritual works of mercy: to convert sinners, to instruct the ignorant, to counsel the doubtful, to comfort the sorrowful, to bear wrongs patiently, to forgive offences and to pray for the living and the dead. It is important to note that the call to abide in God and be fruitful is expedient in our day, especially as we witness the massive collapse of traditionally nurtured moral values and Christian faith. Someone once wrote: “your life may be the only Gospel another person will ever read, reflect upon and get converted.
” Our lives as Christians should be a mirror for others to see, a light to light up the path for others and good fruits for others to benefit from, in order to frequent the source (Jesus Christ), in whom we live, move and have our being (Acts 17:28). Fruitfulness is not measured with the standard of the world’s success, but by true relationship with God and our neighbours. For instance, a politician who swindles public funds, a cleric who shades the truth for personal motive, elected national leader who keeps silence to crime and injustice, renowned medical practitioner who aborts or a business man or woman who sells expired or fake products to consumers may be termed to be wealthy and successful, but not fruitful. St Paul explicitly encourages that we should possess the fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).
When all these virtues are evident in our daily activities of life, the society gets her healing and human achievement will be recorded in a positive light. The creation of mankind is a great venture initiated by God to be fruitful. In our lives, God sowed seed of love that we might grow and bear fruits. Rev. Fr. Amuluche Greg Nnamani once stated that “The world is God’s farmland, where he plants souls and cultivate them, but each person that exists is under his pruning care in order to bear fruits.” Little wonder God said to mankind “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1.28). When the scripture speaks about fruitfulness it brings to mind the fruits of the Holy Spirit in living a purposed-driven life like the Church throughout all Judea, Galilee and Samaria in the first reading, who had peace, built up in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:31). When we abide in God’s word and cooperate with the power of the Holy Spirit, we get richly endowed like the apostles to bear much fruits abundantly. Let us not allow the waves of the world, inclinations of the flesh and the accuser of brethren (devil) to cut us away from the true vine. God is glorified when we remain faithful to his word and fruitful in our Christian vocation. The universe is very hungry and seriously dehydrated. Not for rice, beans, drinks nor snacks. Let us feed the world with the fruits of the Holy Spirit.