March 25, 2019

The Source of Our Life in Christ Jesus

It is, of course, God the Father who is the vine-grower and the source of our life in Christ Jesus.  Jesus is the vine. As we all know already you and I are the branches. We are glad to be a part of the vine. It means that we may find life in the marvelous person of our holy Redeemer, inside  his very self. An incredible upgrade for sinners like ourselves. It means that Jesus, the second  person of the blessed Trinity, is actually living within our souls, our spirits and our bodies, at the very core of our own being. It is not belonging to God --- but belonging in God.

Here is a review of the Scripture text:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. Remain in me as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me --- without me you can do nothing, “(John 15: 1-5).

This beautiful text gives us a clear notion of the spiritual situation of most baptized Christians.  We live our spiritual lives abiding within Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ dwells in us as divine spirit. The  more we put our trust in Christ the more we conform ourselves to him and to his holy will. 

Now we may ask why as branches we live deep down within the Vine. For no other reason, evidently, than to produce fruit, that is, those works of mercy, justice and kindness so pleasing to the Father.

We are created to become workers in the garden of the Lord. Our life’s purpose is clearly explainedin Ephesians 2:10: “We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.“ Even before we were born were our work assignments written on a blackboard in heaven? Because are needed for the job. 

Now, God is looking for anyone with special talents, a good moral life, good work habits, for people ready to commit themselves to lifelong service. 

The ideal applicant needs to demonstrate qualities like this: be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us; be holy as God is holy; keep God’s commandments; love one another as Christ loves you; do what God commands you; bear much fruit and become his disciples; never grow weary of doing good; finally, remember that all creatures are embraced by God’s mercy. 

These days Jesus often takes any willing person he can find; because many folks seem to think the list of chores too long. But the Holy Spirit helps one do it. This recent Ash Wednesday Jesus’ disciples placed crosses of ash on their foreheads, not wanting to appear better than others, but only to pour out their heartfelt feelings. Remarkably, these folks began to sing in unison: “I live in Jesus Christ and Jesus lives in me. It is enough. I don’t really need anything else.”

Jerry Wickenhauser