We Bear Fruit in Community

BY BRENNA DAVIS | April 29, 2024
Sunday readings

The parable of the vineyard is ripe with meaning as I contemplate it with an ecological lens. Earth Day happened a week ago today, and while the one day that everyone stops to think about creation is over, the vineyard of care for creation continues to bear fruit. 

The gospel tells us, “Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.” Sometimes in integral ecology work, I mistake myself as a branch on my own, frantically trying to make something grow in the midst of the constantly harsher climate around me. In these seasons, when prayer feels dry or unintentional, I feel alone, helpless, and paralyzed by the weight of climate change and how inconsequential I am in comparison. Then the good Spirit reminds me I am not alone. 

God is a model of the bounty of relationship, particularly in the love that flows in the Trinity. Even Jesus chose to live out his work in community. 

I have the privilege of seeing the many branches of the Ignatian family that bear fruit, particularly through the work of eco-educators in our high schools. A few buds and fruits of their tireless efforts include solar panel installations, ecological justice plans, beehives, gardens and chicken coops, outdoor classrooms, socially responsible investing statements, commitments to ethical and sustainable purchasing, environmental/ energy audits, federal and state-level advocacy, town hall meetings, Green Teams with alumni members, native plantings, composting, ecological justice classes, food sovereignty initiatives, community and beach litter clean-ups, peace-and-justice-weeks focused on care for creation, and Laudato Sí Action Platform teams, to name just a handful. Each one of those examples brings to mind the names of individual teachers and students, reminders that I, and we, are connected to a bountiful network of vines. 

Students from St. Xavier High School (OH) and St. Ursula Academy with their elected officials after a town hall meeting on legislation related to ecology and migration.

In Laudate Deum, Pope Francis reminds us that “everything is connected and no one is saved alone.” With God and our companions, the vineyard will continue to bear the fruit of love and justice.

Who or what reminds you that you are not a branch on your own but part of an interconnected network in the vineyard?

1 reply
  1. Dr. Eileen Knight
    Dr. Eileen Knight says:

    Who or what reminds you that you are not a branch on your own but part of an interconnected network in the vineyard?
    I think that I can live out the promise of the Resurrection by networking with others to foster the love that conquered hate and ultimately being instruments of peace and encouragers of hope. By networking we can be sons and daughters of encouragement. Yesterday when we read the vines and the branches scripture we networked to provide a breakfast treat to all that came. It was a generous gift from the parish and the networking crew that made sure everyone was attended to. The conversation among all the Churchgoers provided an opportunity to talk about what concerns people in their lives and the lives of their children. there were no tickets or sign-in just a welcome to all for a moment to realize we are the vines on the branches of hope and love for all believers. We are a faith founded on love.


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