The Lord Jesus Christ beckons on us today to remain in Him. The reason why He is asking us to remain in Him is to be able to bear fruits. If we do not remain in Him, we will not bear fruits, and just as unfruitful branches of a tree are cut off so the Heavenly Father removes unfruitful people from the body of Christ. Basically, the Lord is saying that we are worthless without Him. “Apart from me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Jesus Christ is only stating the fact of our human nature in a different way.
When God made man, the Scriptures report that it was after the Father had breathed on man His breath of life that man became a living being (Cf. Gen 2:7; 1 Cor 15:45). The Father has continued to sustain the life He gave to us. As adults in the faith, we have been given the responsibility of sharing this gift with other people.
Sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with other people can be daunting at times. We are not sure of the kind of response we might get from people. Hence, we tend to duck and maintain a low profile or say; live our Christian life “privately.” There is really no such thing as “private Christianity” because the Christian life by default has to be fruitful.
Remain in Jesus
Jesus tells us today that bearing fruits is only made possible if we “remain” or “abide” in Him. To remain in Christ is to align with the will of Christ in all things at all times. I am always deeply moved whenever I read how the Lord begs us to walk with Him. He respects our free will. At the same time, He wants us to be aware of the consequences of living outside of Him—the futility of our human efforts.
So how about all the scientists, artists, and professionals who work very hard every day but do not really know Christ nor care to know what His teachings are? How about the huge number of people who do not care to “abide” in Christ, and yet they also look forward to being “fruitful” in their daily endeavors?
First, Christ’s life, sufferings, death, and resurrection give so many graces to the world that it is possible that one might be living a Christ-like life (in other words, remaining in Christ) even before he/she hears the kerygma. The Church teaches in Lumen Gentium 16, “Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.”
Lastly, it is important to be aware that we can only have a perfect understanding of the value of our work on the last day. Although certain works might appear valuable now, St Paul reminds us that they actually may be mirages—mirror-like imagery: “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1 Cor. 13:12). To be really certain about our work and walk in this life, why not stick with Jesus! Remain with Jesus! And abide in Jesus!