Abide in me!
Listen to Jesus this Sunday as he begins one of His most amazing statements: “I am the vine; you are the branches…” (John 15:5). Today’s Gospel text is part of Jesus’ “farewell discourse” during his Last Supper with his disciples. Jesus has already told his disciples about his departure and asked them not to be troubled or afraid because he assured all his disciples that His father will send the Paraclete to be their advocate. Then Jesus said: “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in them bears much fruit.” Jesus uses the metaphor of a vineyard to tell them that they must remain in his love and act as his disciples. What Jesus wants to teach us in today’s gospel is the extreme necessity for us to remain or abide in Him. So, what does it mean to abide? It comes from the Greek word “meno”, which means “remain, live, stay, dwell.” John, the evangelist used these metaphors in his writings to help us see the reality of our relationship to the Lord. Abiding simply means we belong to Him; it denotes our connectedness. This connectedness and intimacy with the creator are crucial in our Christian- spiritual journey. Firstly, we are called to remain in God. For me, it is not just a belief in Christ rather it is having a conscious awareness of His presence throughout our life. It is also a self-realization of one’s own inadequacy to live and move without His presence (Acts 17:28). The German- American existentialist philosopher Paul Tillich describes God as “the ground of all Being.” The idea is that everything we are – our very life and existence, not only comes from God but remains completely connected with God in every way. Nothing, including us, exists apart from God. We need to embrace this truth in our lives.
Secondly, in the second reading St. John in his first letter points out to us that to abide in God, we must also love one another- the commandant of God. John reminds us that: “…our love is not to be just word or mere talk, but something real and active. Only through this can we be certain that we are the children of truth”. In other words, we need to become conscious of our Christian responsibility towards our neighbors. Our belief in Christ is simply reflected in our concrete works of charity and mercy towards our neighbor. John continues to remind us that: “Whoever keeps his commandments lives in God and God lives in him.” what proves that we are really in Christ is our ability to keep His commandments in our lives. Our obedience to this commandment of “love” is our concrete expression of love for the Creator and others. Pope Francis puts it beautifully, “Abiding in the Lord means finding the courage to step outside of ourselves to take care of other’s needs and give a Christian witness in the world.” Let us become aware that like branches that do not bear fruits without vine, without Him we can do nothing (Jh 15:4). Let us deepen our communion with Creator, who invites us daily to abide in Him and find courage to witness our love for the Creator in and through our love towards our neighbor.
By Vijay Deivanayagam, OMI
Vocation Contact Central