In nature there is a built-in tendency toward fruitfulness. When Jesus speaks of natural phenomena, he speaks of abundance. A primary example of this is the parable of the seeds which are sown on various types of soil. It’s only the seed that falls on fertile soil which produces a good and abundant harvest.
This striving toward fruitfulness brings a social dimension to our striving for goodness. It’s not about the single grain or the single grape. We all benefit from a good harvest, and we all suffer from a bad harvest. Witness the way different responses to the pandemic around the world are producing good or bad harvests, affecting us all.
Is our life’s journey about personal perfection, or is it more about growth into fruitfulness? For me it makes more sense to understand my vocation in terms of fruitfulness–being the receptive soil and trusting in God for the growth. What growth does God want to produce in me? This question can only be answered through prayer, through spending time reflecting in the presence of God’s Spirit.
There is a certain wildness in this process of coming to fruition. Weeds must eventually be pulled. The vines must be pruned. It’s a life’s work. The amazing thing is that in spite of the obstacles we encounter, growth happens. The call of the gospel is not simply to pursue personal perfection, but to be fruitful for God’s Reign.
“Some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.” (Matthew 13:8-9)