Jesus had gathered all his students by a vineyard, early in the morning. The fresh scent of morning dew resting on the leaves, the cheerful music of bird trills greeting the misty dawn, the warm rays of the rising sun filled them all with a sense of inchoate joy. Jesus motioned them to be still then gestured towards a figure bent over one of the vines, far in the distance.
What did their rabbi want them to see? Each craned over the shoulder of the ones in front of them till all were watching the lone vinedresser with keen attentiveness. Soon, those ahead stirred as Jesus began to walk towards the figure, and all His disciples filed after Him.
“God’s chastisement is prompted when one of the Father’s own are doing something out of the Father’s will. When that one is not producing good fruit.”
They all nodded in agreement. Did not even the Pharisees teach of punishment for transgressing the Law, the Prophets, the Books of Wisdom?
“However, God’s pruning is the reward of those who are within the Father’s will, producing good fruit.”
Jesus was now standing by the vinedresser, who had young green tendrils and mature leaves lying around his feet. In his hand was a small, sharp knife, the green of the vine’s sap running onto its haft.
“Sin is what must be let go of when God chastises.” Jesus paused, then bent to lift up an already wilting branch, “But it is the self that must be released when God is pruning, by giving God permission to infuse the inner person with God’s own Person, to grow divine fruit.”
“How can the vine know if it is being chastised or pruned?” asked one of the younger students. “It is the same action, for there is a cutting away, there is pain, there is loss, there is hardship.” Others nodded their heads. Where was the reward in such an action of the Father’s?
“It does feel the same,” Jesus agreed. “But it is not the same. For you will experience an increase in the fruit already being produced in your life, rich grapes that will become food and wine. It is the Father’s desire that you be enriched by the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”
Oh Lord, by Your supernatural strength enable us to straighten our hands that have become exhausted and knees that have been weakened, encourage us in making straight paths for our feet, in order that we would not turn aside, but rather be made whole. (Hebrews 12:12-13)
[A fable inspired by the Gospels]