5th Sunday of Easter. (Im)Possible Week 5: Abiding in Jesus.
Dear brothers and sisters,
I extend to all mothers a blessed and happy Mother’s Day weekend. Please see the attached information in today’s bulletin about the “virtual” Baby Bottle collection for the Pregnancy Resource Center.
This past Monday May 4, we had been scheduled to welcome Bishop Bambera to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation for our youth. As of this date, we don’t know when we will be allowed to have this celebration and so many others, but all of us can reflect on the meaning of the Sacraments for our lives in the midst of this COVID-19 crisis. Jesus tells us in the Gospel this weekend that we will do even greater works than he (John 14:12). How is this possible? If you are familiar with the stories of the Saints, many of them had incredible conversion stories. There are saints who are former prostitutes, drunks, and murderers; yet the Holy Spirit worked through their past lives to bring his glory. God can use anything for his glory; right now, there are “ordinary” people around us, like grocery store clerks, postal workers, and single parents, doing extraordinary things just by supporting their families, and keeping our community going.
Jesus says to his disciples, I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you (John 14:16-17). Have you ever been comforted or encouraged by another person? Have you ever extended kindness and service to others, because of your faith? This is the Holy Spirit working within us and through us! Later in this same passage, Jesus says, Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. 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 (John 15:4-5). Jesus’ command here is not to do good works, but to “remain in me.” Some translations say “abide in me.” We bear fruit, when we first stick by Jesus, entrusting ourselves to him as the Great Vine.
In the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, the Holy Spirit comes to abide in us, and will never abandon us. The fruits of the Holy Spirit include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). What “fruit” is God calling you to bear right now during this crisis? Whatever it is, stay close to Jesus, especially in prayer and by calling upon the Holy Spirit through the course of the day. I believe that this is a time of purification of the Church, and a time when saints are being raised up. May we trust in him, that on the other side of this crisis, our faith will be stronger than ever. Questions for Small Groups:
Which description of the Holy Spirit do you most like and why? Which one of these do you need most in your life right now: Comforter, Advocate, Spirit of Wisdom, Guide, Teacher, Gift of God, Spirit of Jesus and Helper?
Read John 15:4-5. What does the word remain or abide mean to you? What are some ways that you can remain in Him?
In what area of your life do you see God working? Or, in what area of your life do you most need God to work?
What great works (small or big) do you hope to do in the next few months? What great things do you hope to do in the next year? How will you remain in Him to accomplish great things?