Jesus urges men to abide in Him so they might be fruitful and avoid Hell. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Gift of Piety from the Holy Spirit so he can remain in Christ through the Sacrament of Penance and by seeking the Gift of Understanding so he can be transformed in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
5th Week of Easter – Sunday – Cycle B – Jn 15:1-8
Jesus continues His Farewell Discourse (Jn 13:31-16:33) during Holy Week, preparing the Apostles for their mission after His departure. After revealing His coming departure and directing the Apostles to demonstrate their obedience to Him by keeping His commandments, Jesus now gives them the means by which they may be fruitful in building His Holy Catholic Church.
Beginning with the powerful proclamation of His Divinity (“I am”; Ex 3:14), Jesus gives the allegory of the Vine and Branches. Jesus (the vine) comes into the world to draw men to God (bear fruit). Men (the branches) must remain attached to Jesus (the vine) to build His Holy Catholic Church and the Kingdom (bear fruit). God the Father will continually challenge (prune) men to become even more effective. For those men who reject Jesus (do not abide), God the Father (the vinedresser) will allow their demise (remove), and their souls will be lost to Hell (thrown in the fire and burned).
Jesus rigorously formed the Apostles over a grueling three year period, preparing them to be fruitful as they evangelize the world. Being fruitful requires the Apostles to “abide” in Jesus, and He promises to abide in men; as He established at the Last Supper, He will abide in men in a concrete way through His Glorified Body and Blood given to faithful and holy men in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. For men who abide in Jesus, anything they ask will be done for them. Jesus expects His men to evangelize the world (bear much fruit) to prove they are indeed His disciples. Those who do not abide in Jesus can do nothing of lasting value in the world, and they are doomed (will wither and die), an allusion to the eternal death of Hell.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be awed by the Son of the Father, Who: commands men to imitate His holy example by being fruitful in Faith and Charity and performing Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy; promises to make men who draw close to Him fruitful; actually becomes supernaturally present in men through the Sacrament of the Eucharist; gives men the severe Warning that those who refuse Him will be “gathered” and “burned” (eternal Hell).
Remain in Christ through the Sacrament of Penance
Realize: As men become mired in sin, they drift farther and farther from Jesus, become impure, and are cut off from Him, like withered unfruitful branches die off the vine and can no longer receive life-giving sap; every Catholic man must valiantly battle against sin so they continue to be able to receive the supernatural graces from Jesus that yield much fruit.
Believe: Reflect upon Mortal and Venial Sin (CCC 1849-1876) and the Sacrament of Penance (CCC 1420-1498).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Piety so I continue to heroically battle against sin and build a regular discipline to vigorously confront my sins and frequently receive Christ’s life-giving grace and forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance.
Be transformed by the Sacrament of the Eucharist
Realize: Jesus died so every Catholic man could receive the Eucharist, a mysterious physical and spiritual miracle through which Christ actually abides in the body, mind and soul of a man who receives Him in a state of grace.
Believe: Reflect upon the Sacrament of the Eucharist (CCC 1322-1419).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Understanding so I can better grasp the mysterious supernatural reality of my union with Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist and be transformed when I am allowed to receive His Real Presence in the Eucharist.