The gospel passage heard today (Jn 15:1-8) is the same one that was presented on Sunday. Recall that in it Jesus compares himself to a grapevine with us as branches. Branches that bear no fruit are cut away by the Father. In order to bear fruit Jesus says that one must abide in Him so that He can abide in us. If we don’t do so, we wither and are tossed into the fire. Then He ends by reemphasizing His point in today’s passage that we glorify the Father by bearing fruit as Jesus’ disciples. But even those who do bear fruit suffer pain along the way, as made clear by Jesus’ words in the headline. It is not easy losing pieces of oneself. But the Lord knows what is best and, for the one who wishes to be a true disciple, He will cut away the dross that keeps us from fully embracing His words and mission. What sin do we cling to, what habit can’t we shake, or what distraction do we allow ourselves that keeps us from fully giving ourselves to the Lord? Better that we work and pray to eliminate it ourselves than to have to wait to hit “rock bottom” through hurting or losing loved ones, damaging ourselves, or causing public scandal before turning our lives around. But even if it comes to the worst, Jesus can use us to further His kingdom when we finally are put in a position of humiliation that disposes us to put Him in charge and acknowledge the Truth that is Him.