Scripture: 1st Reading: Acts15,1-6; Resp. Psalm: Ps122,1-5; Gosp. Accl.: Jn15,4-5; Gospel: Jn15,1-8
The Lord is the true vine. The essence of our lives depend on how grafted we are on to Him. He allows us to be grafted on Him, to live in Him, to live His life, out of the love He has for us. Generations of men and women, of holy and devout persons, wanted to live one day in His time but did not have the opportunity, to hear what he says, but did not hear it.
By our baptism, the Lord took us to Himself and made us His people, the sheep of His flock. This is why His words in today's gospel mean a lot to us. He invites us to fellowship with Him so that we could have a new beginning, a new life. When we take our fellowship with Him with seriousness, and we live its implications, then we bear much fruit.
The central point that runs through our Lord's discuss today is to abide in Him. To abide in Him is never to take our gaze off Him. To abide in Him is to sit at His feet to learn from Him. To abide in Him is to know Him and what He demands of us and do it. To abide in Him is to allow His words abide in us.
The disciples today met the first major test in the nascent Christian community. This test had to do with the manner of admitting the gentiles and pagans into the Christian fold. Some of the Jewish converts insisted that they should be circumcised and keep the law of Moses. Paul and some other notable disciples insisted that this was unnecessary. That test was overcome because the entire community listened to the directing Spirit of God.
To abide in the Lord, we must listen to the direction and follow the guidance of His Holy Spirit. We must ask Him to teach us how to discern His Spirit so that we understand the voice of the Spirit and make the right choices for our state of life.
In the saintly bishop, St. Athanasius, we have a model and example on what it means to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit to make the right choices. St. Athanasius needed the guidance of the Spirit especially at the time of the doctrinal controversies raised by Arius concerning the divinity of Christ.
St. Athanasius was unrelenting in his defense of the orthodox faith and stood on the side of Scripture and the tradition of the Church. His life bore great fruits because he never lost his focus, which was always on the Lord. May he intercede for us.
Let us pray: "Almighty ever-living God, who raised up the Bishop Saint Athanasius as an outstanding champion of your Son's divinity, mercifully grant, that rejoicing in his teaching and his protection, we may never cease to grow in knowledge and love of you." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.