The following reflection is by Triona Doherty
How does your garden grow?
Have you ever seen a vine close up? I remember stopping at a French vineyard on my first ever trip abroad, fascinated to set eyes for the first time on the rows upon rows of vines, heavy with clusters of ripe grapes. If you haven't had the good fortune to visit a vineyard, think of an apple tree laden with apples, or a fruit bush ripe for picking. Imagine the many factors that must come together so that the tree can bear fruit - the sunlight, rain, nutrients, and of course the proper pruning from a prudent gardener.
We are now some weeks into the Church season of Easter. During Lent we went through a pruning process of sorts. We cut back on areas of excess, and weeded out some bad habits. What are the unhealthy habits that need to be pruned back in our lives, in order that more loving thoughts and actions may emerge? The symbolism of the vine works on many levels. A branch that is separated from the tree cannot flourish on its own; it must be connected to the vine from which it gets its nourishment. Each of us must remain firmly rooted in Jesus. And if you look again at the vine plant, often its branches are so entangled it can be hard to know where one ends and another begins. There is no way of untwisting them to locate individual branches. We note that Jesus did not address himself to an individual saying 'You are the branch', rather he spoke of branches. We are a community, and we grow together.