|Remain in me as I remain in you.|
Praised be Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!
“Remain in me, as I remain in you,” the Lord Jesus repeats these words again and again in today’s gospel reading. Using the image of the vine, the Lord demonstrates for us how he gives life to us and how he assures us of a fruitful life. The vine is the source of life of its branches. It is the vine which gets the nourishment from the soil and that nourishment is transmitted to its branches. Thus, so long as the branches are attached to the vine, they continue to live and thus bear fruit. Our relationship with the Lord Jesus is like that of the branches to the vine. We are alive and we bear fruit only so long as we are attached or connected to the vine. This relationship is called “communion”. So long as we are in communion with the Lord, so long as we remain in him as he remains in us, we are alive and the proof of life is the fact that we bear fruits. The Lord Jesus tells us: “Without me, you can do nothing.”
But this is really the question: How do we remain in him? St. John in the 2nd reading tells us: “Those who keep his commandments remain in him and he in them, and the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit he gave us.” We remain in the Lord by keeping his commandments. It is easy to claim that we are in communion with the Lord because it is easy to deceive our own selves. It is easy to pretend that we are in communion with the Lord by saying that we get emotionally “high” during our prayers or claim that we feel “blessed na blessed ni Lord.” Just as it is easy to just say “I love you” to almost everyone as the artistas and politicians can easily say these words. But when can we say that we truly love the Lord? Jesus said: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” And so, St. John tells us: “Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them.” But what are these commandments? St. John tells us: “And his commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us.”
We remain in Jesus if we believe in Jesus. “Whoever believes in him will not perish but will have everlasting life.” But this faith is translated into action for “faith without works is dead.” The works that manifest a living faith are works of love…not just words of love but works of love. Words of affection are cheap. They are given worth only when put into action. Thus, St. John says: “Let us love not just in word or speech but in deed and truth.” The Lord Jesus left us a new commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you.” Therefore, our love for each other becomes the sign that we belong to Jesus. it is the sign that we are his disciples. Among the fruits that the Holy Spirit produces in us, it is love that is the first. Thus, a person who truly belongs to Jesus is a loving person.
We remain in Jesus if we believe in Jesus. faith in Jesus is nourished by the Sacraments, by prayer, and by meditation on the Words of the Lord. A cellphone has to be charged in order to stay connected. In like manner, in order to stay connected to Jesus, we have to be charged with the Spirit whom we receive in the sacraments and also in prayer and in listening to God’s word. Only then can we increase in our faith in the Lord. Only then can we keep on loving him by loving one another. Let us remain in him as he remains in us. By remaining in Jesus, we glorify the Father. by remaining in Jesus, we bear much fruit and become his disciples.
Jesus, I trust in you. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!