HOMILY FOR THE 5TH SUNDAY OF EASTER YEAR B
THEME: AM I STILL LIVING IN JESUS?
BY: Fr Augustine Ikechukwu Opara
HOMILY:(ACTS 9:26-31,1JOHN 3:18-24, JOHN 15:1-8)
For many of us, the idea of being a Christian has more to do with the number of religious objects we have, the many pilgrimages we have made and may be spending more time in the church than having a real living relationship with Jesus, and living a life whose meaning comes from fulfilling the mandate to love, a life of faithful commitment, of persevering in God’s love. St. John says to us today; “let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.” One of the criteria by which we can determine if love is authentic is in its relationship to the truth, and in the coherence of our actions.
In the Gospel, Jesus offers what must have been a familiar image to explain what it means to live in his love, and how we can “measure” the love that gives us life. “I am the vine, and you are the branches… Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. We are talking about fruits here. It is very important we understand that, what it really means is that we, as Christians, do not just walk with him. He is within us, in each other, in our community, in those outside our community. Because through his own incarnation he has become incarnate in every human being.
The word of God transforms us because it is real and active. So, we cannot love God or keep his commandments without concrete works of charity and mercy. Also, we cannot remain in Christ without bearing fruits as a mark of our union with him. In this passage of Jesus farewell discuss, He teaches us that his relationship with us will not end after his death; he will remain with us always.
This unity between Jesus and his followers is the basis for our ability to continue to do the work that he began. Similarly, Jesus’ presence with us through the Gift of the Holy Spirit enables us to continue the work of love and reconciliation that he began. Our commitment to be Christ’s followers, is sustained through God’s Word. This commitment is also strengthened by our life of prayer and nourished by the Eucharist. Through the Eucharist, Jesus dwells in us, remains with us, and transforms us so that we might bear fruit in his name.
To be faithful in our life as Christians, in the world as we know it today, requires a vital, life-giving experience of encountering Christ as well as a sense of commitment to the cause of the Kingdom. We may be occupied by many things, distracted by less important activities, involved in activities that make it difficult to remain “attached to the vine.” And yet it is essential that we remain united with Christ.
No branch can have life or bear fruit on its own, unless it is firmly attached to a tree. Likewise, in our spiritual life and journey as Christians, we cannot do without being firmly attached to Christ the vine, in whose name we were baptized. We are created, and called to remain in Christ for a purpose, and this purpose is, to bear durable fruits in him. So, instead of a passive life, to be in Christ means to live an active and positive life characterized by charity, peace, holiness, pure reverence and love for God, and for our neighbours.
Today my brothers and sisters, the church provides us the opportunity to reflect on our spiritual progress. How is my relationship with Christ, the true vine? Am I still living in him? Have I born any good fruit in Christ? Bearing fruit in Christ means growing spiritually and affecting others positively. Never forget, cut off from him you can do nothing!
God bless you!
Fr Augustine Ikechukwu Opara