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. Jan 2019 .
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Doctrines & Morals

TO BE FERTILE, WE MUST ABIDE IN CHRIST (Acts 9:26-31; 1John 3:18-24; John 15:1-8).

Fertility as a term in Biology is the natural capability to produce offspring. As a measure, fertility rate is the number of offspring born per mating pair, individual or population. A lack of fertility is infertility, that is, the inability to produce offspring. Human fertility depends on factors of nutrition, sexual behavior, consanguinity, culture, instinct, endocrinology, timing, economics, way of life, and emotions. Fertility involves both plants and animals. 
Similarly, in today's gospel, Jesus used the analogy of the Vine and it's branches to describe what the relationship between Jesus and his followers should be like. Just as in humans, to be fertile, there must be a natural connection between the man and the woman. So also, in Christianity, anyone who wants to bear fruit must have a direct connection with Jesus. 
In the first reading, Saul a persecutor of Christians became Paul, an apostle to the gentiles after his encounter with Jesus. Once he became connected with the vine, he began preaching fearlessly and he was not bothered about what they will do to him. St. John also in the second reading tells us that, to remain in Jesus, we must keep his commandments and that our love for one another must not be in words but in actions. 
Dear friends, to be fertile, we must remain in Jesus. Fertility is about bearing and bringing forth good fruits. To sow good seeds, we must be connected to the source of goodness itself. Luke 6:44 says, "for every tree is known by its fruit." We need to ask ourselves, what kind of fruit am I producing? A good fruit or a bad fruit? St. Paul says in *Gal 5:22-23, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control."* When we are in Christ, we will produce fruits like this. 
Secondly, let us abide in Christ and let Christ abide in us. The four Gospels teach us how to become true disciples of Jesus and how to abide in him as branches abide in the main trunk of the vine and draw their life from the vine. Personal and liturgical prayers, frequenting of the Sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation, daily and meditative reading of the Bible and selfless, loving acts of kindness and mercy and forgiveness enable us to abide in Jesus, the true Vine, as fruit-bearing branches. 
Thirdly, we need pruning in our Christian life. There are 2 types of pruning. (1). Self-imposed pruning. The decision to cut out certain vices in us that we know is not good. (2). Practicing self-control over our evil inclinations, sinful addictions and aberrations. Jesus prunes, purifies and strengthens us by allowing us to face pain and suffering, contradictions and difficulties with courage of our Christian convictions.
Lord, grant me the grace to abide in you always for without you, I can do nothing. Amen. 
Good morning and do have a restful Sunday. God loves you.
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