A FRUITFUL VINE        Hos.10.1-3, 7-8, 12.

Out of all the nations of the world God chose as his own, the nation Israel. One metaphor used to describe this nation chosen by God was that of the vine. Throughout the Old Testament the prophets constantly alluded to and made known God’s love to Israel as vinedresser takes care off the vine. Jesus himself takes up the metaphor and designates himself as the “True Vine”. The vine is to flourish with healthy fruit   – grapes are the fruit produced on the vine and fine wine is the final product. It is a perfect analogy of Israel who is nourished by God’s love yet crushed through Her ordeals of life in order to produce the wine of God’s chosen people

However, Israel forsakes her God and turns to the pagan gods of surrounding areas. Israel is like the wild vine, unattended and ruined because of her lack of obedience to the commands of God. Israel has forsaken God the king and seeks pleasure in the foreign deities of her time. The consequence being that of poisonous weeds takes over the fruit of the vine.

The Church is also represented as the vine – the new vine. We as members of the Church are connected to the true vine which is Jesus. All life and nourishment comes from him. He calls those who are to follow him to abide in him, to make our dwelling in him alone. As we abide in Jesus we bear fruit, everlasting fruit. The kind of fruit that does not go rotten, nor is ruined by poisonous weeds. We must remain in Jesus to produce good fruit – the good fruit of the spirit. In the epistle to the Galatians, Paul tells us that the kind of fruit we produce in the Spirit is that of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Hosea preaches to the people to sow for themselves justice so as to reap the fruit of piety.

Hosea calls the people to break up the ground of hardness that can settle in our lives through complacency, sinful habits, attitudes of self righteousness and pride. Let our hearts become the good soil where God can plant his seed of grace and mercy to produce fruit. Just as the rain comes to water the earth, so too must our lives be open to the rain of the Holy Spirit who produces a harvest of righteousness, justice and peace.

What are the areas in my life that have become hardened? What fruit of the Spirit do I need see develop in my life. Where in my life do I need to allow the Lord to break open and rain his blessing in my life – family, work, relationships, behavior, sexuality, emotions?

Lord, I thank you for the gift of the Spirit. Help me abide in you as you take your place in me. May my life become like a fruitful vine, offering to others the wine of compassion, joy and peace. Amen