May 18 – Memorial for St. John I, Pope and Martyr
St. John (d. 526) was a priest in Rome, and became the 53rd pope in 523. Italy’s ruler then, Theodoric the Goth, was an Arian. For a while he left the Catholics alone, but in later life, he became suspicious of everyone, imagining conspiracies and attempts to seize his throne. He tried to involve Pope John in his political machinations. John led a delegation to Constantinople to negotiate with Emperor Justin I; he was the first pope to travel to Constantinople, and while there, crowned Justin. The mission was successful, but Theodoric thought John and Justin I had plotted against him. While returning to Rome, John was kidnapped and imprisoned by Theodoric’s soldiers. He died of thirst and starvation while in custody in Ravenna, Italy.
- Patron Saint Index
“Every branch in me that bears no fruit he cuts away”
It is strange how an experience can totally change how one perceives and understands the world around oneself.
In today’s Gospel, our Lord Jesus talks about how His Father, the vinedresser, cuts away every branch in us that bears no fruit, and that how anyone who does not remain in Him is like a branch that is thrown away. Over the years, I have somehow read the passage in John as God “cutting us off” if we failed to be faithful or productive in our faith and lives.
A few years ago, my wife and I attended an Inner Healing Retreat. I experienced amazing healing and insights during this retreat. After this amazing encounter with God, I read the gospel passage differently. Now, “every branch in me that bears no fruit he cuts away” tells me that He is active in me, cutting and pruning the ‘withered’ branches. These are the branches that wound and hurt me; that do not allow me to be the best for God that I can be. God also promises that if we are to remain in Him, He would remain in us and we would bear fruit in plenty! What a beautiful promise!
This passage has taken on a new life for me. I am excited by God’s assurance of how He would take care of me. I am excited by His promises of how much fruit I can bear for Him.
What wonderful lives God has promised us!
(Today’s OXYGEN by Paul Wee)
Prayer: Father God, help us to always be mindful about how we can serve and love you more. We pray that Your Spirit may continue to guide us.
Thanksgiving: Thank You for your blessed assurances to us Father. We look forward to loving you and serving you more each day!