In the very beginning, God said: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.” Genesis 1:28. Recently, a priest proclaimed that this was God’s first commandment: Be fruitful. I realized that I have always focused on the second part (the easy part): “and multiply.” I can do that.
Later, Jesus reminds us of our creation and of our purpose: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” John 15:16.
We are appointed so that we can go and bear fruit. How are we supposed to bear fruit? Jesus tells us:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”John 15:1-8
I think this might mean more than go multiply.
Jesus tells us that we need to bear fruit, and if we do we will continue to bear fruit. And although fruit may certainly be our children, it is so much more than that. We are chosen and appointed that we may go and bear fruit and that our fruit will also abide. Our fruit needs to abide in, remain in Jesus. And while I hope and pray that my child will do this, our fruit is not limited to our biological children.
So how do we do that?
Well, love brings about children.
And love also brings about other fruit. Loving God allows us to bear fruit. Remaining in Jesus, abiding with Him, listening to His word will allow us to bear fruit, and not just a life for this world. But, as the priest proclaimed in a recent mass, “we have the potential to pass on eternal life to others.” That is being fruitful. Loving others, sharing God’s love with others, provides that opportunity. If we stay connected to Jesus, hold on to Him, we will remain in Him and He will remain in us. And our branches can reach out to others who may not have listened to His word, who may not know His love. That is more than creating life for this world. That is fostering life for the next.
Help me to be fruitful. Help me to be an active disciple, who uses the gifts you have given me to multiply your kingdom. I know that without you, I can do nothing. But if I abide in you, if I abide in your love and in your word, I can do all things through you. Prune me so that I may bear fruit and glorify God.