Spring shows signs of the divine life

| Bishop Andrew Cozzens | May 10, 2018 | 0 Comments

On the Fifth Sunday of Easter, we read at Sunday Mass one of my favorite passages of Scripture — the image of the vine and branches from John 15:1-10.

Bishop Andrew Cozzens

Bishop Andrew Cozzens

I love to meditate on this passage, and it is particularly appropriate for spring. This passage forms the heart of Jesus’ Last Supper discourse. The vine and the branches is an image for the Church and helps us understand that the Church is so much more than a club.

St. John uses one word 10 times in this passage. In Greek, the word here is usually translated in English as “remain” or sometimes “abide,” and it means to participate in or share in. Thus, to belong to the Church is to be invited to share in, participate in, the very life of God. This is what the vine and the branches have in common — the sap, the life force, which we know by analogy is the life of grace that is shared with us through the sacraments, through prayer and through the Holy Spirit, which fills us in the body of Christ. Of course, we know that this is a eucharistic image, as St. John says in chapter six of his Gospel: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him” (Jn 6:58).

For me, spring is filled with signs of this divine life growing in our Church, especially our young people. Archbishop Bernard Hebda and I get to encounter thousands of young people through the sacrament of confirmation each year (about 7,000 will be confirmed this spring). It is always so encouraging to see the faith with which many young people receive this sacrament. I can see many of them have been well prepared, and they are longing for this gift of the Holy Spirit to help lead them to the fullness of life in Christ.

During this season, we also see the young hearts who receive their first Communion. We see in these important moments how much this life of Christ can bring us true peace and deep joy. The Lord says that when we remain in him, we will produce fruit.

Our lives are filled with many important matters that we spend our time working on and thinking about. As spring finally arrives in the great white north, do we think enough about the divine life of God that he wants to share with us in ever deeper ways? He shares it with us not only through the sacraments, but also through our lives of prayer and fellowship with other Christians. The whole reason Jesus came was to share with us this divine life. “I have come that you might have life and have it to the full”
(Jn 10:10). “I am the way the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6).

Ultimately, this is the only reason the Church exists — to bring people into this divine life and to connect them to Christ the vine, for only this life is powerful enough to overcome death, as Christ showed us in his resurrection. Jesus warns us that we need this divine life; it is not an added extra: “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5).

Let us take advantage of all the opportunities Christ gives us to grow in this divine life.

Solamente Jesus

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Category: Only Jesus