Pruning the Tree (Eleventh Ordinary)

Yet when the mustard seed is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade. (Mark 4: 32)

In our little city backyard my dad cultivated a pear tree that was there when he bought the house and a transplanted apricot tree that started as a pit someone spit out and grew unnoticed next to the wall of the house. Neither was anything great to look at. They didn’t grow very tall and they didn’t produce much shade, due to Dad’s frenzied trimming of both trees every year. By the time he was done all that remained was the trunk and a few large branches.

They looked dead but every spring new shoots would grow out of those stumps, flower and produce more fruit then you thought possible. He’d tell us that this way the juice of the roots would be concentrated on making the fruit and not be wasted on keeping useless branches alive. Maybe he learned from listening to this today’s readings about the cedar God plants and the kingdom in a mustard seed.

In any case it might be a good idea to ask ourselves what needs to be trimmed away in our lives so that we will have grace enough to bear the fruit that God expects and desire of us.

What is the “good soil” that has allowed your faith to grow like the mustard seed and provide shelter for others?

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