Monday, May 11, 2015

Not deviating from Jesus

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
May 3, 2015

John 15:1-8

The image is simple and highly expressive. Jesus is the "true vine", full of life, the disciples are "branches" living from the sap that comes from Jesus, the Father is the "vine grower" who personally cares for the vineyard so that it bears abundant fruit. The only important thing is that His plan for a more humane and happy world for all become a reality.

The image highlights where the problem is. There are dry branches through which the lifeblood of Jesus doesn't circulate. Disciples who don't bear fruit because the Spirit of the Risen One doesn't run through their veins. Christian communities languishing because they're disconnected from him.

So he makes a statement loaded with intensity -- "the branch can not bear fruit unless it remains on the vine" -- the disciples' life is sterile "unless you remain" in Jesus. His words are categorical: "Without me you can do nothing." Isn't the true root of the crisis of our Christianity being revealed to us here, the internal factor that splits its foundation like no other?

The way many Christians live their religion -- without a vital union with Jesus Christ -- will not stand for long. It will be reduced to anachronistic "folklore" that will not bring anyone the Good News of the Gospel. The Church can not carry out its mission in today's world if we who call ourselves "Christian" don't become disciples of Jesus, inspired by his spirit and his passion for a more humane world.

To be a Christian today requires a lived experience of Jesus Christ, an inner knowledge of his person and a passion for his plan, which were not required to be a practitioner within a society of Christianity. Unless we learn to live from a more immediate and passionate contact with Jesus, the decline of our Christianity could become a deadly disease.

We Christians today are worried and distracted by many issues. It can not be otherwise. But we must not forget the essential. We are all "branches". Only Jesus is "the true vine." The decisive thing right now is to "remain in him," applying all our attention to the Gospel, nurturing in our groups, networks, communities and parishes living contact with him, not deviating from his plan.

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