Fifth Sunday of Easter (April 29, 2018)

Today, Jesus is telling us that a personal, intimate relationship with him is essential if we are to bear fruit as his disciples.

As branches need a vine in order to bear fruit, we need Jesus. Jesus is very clear: “Without me, you can do nothing.” The opposite is also true: with Jesus, we can do everything. Jesus reveals his great desire for us: “Remain in me, as I remain in you.” Our efforts to remain in Jesus each day give glory to our Father.

One of the ways we remain in Jesus as he remains in us is that we love in our deeds, and not merely talk about loving. St. Francis de Sales offers us some practical advice about how to do this each day. He encourages us to begin our day by being conscious of God’s presence and love:

My God, I know that you are here with me.
You are loving me today.
Help me to be conscious you are with me
in everything I say and do today.

Then, as we begin each new activity of our day, he encourages us to be conscious again of God’s presence and ask for the help of his grace so that we might do this activity in a way that is pleasing to God.

All of the activities of our day are part of God’s plan for our salvation. God graces them, making them holy activities, no matter how ordinary they may seem to us. Eating a meal, shopping for food, listening in class, working at a job, meeting with friends, washing clothes and pots and pans – each of these activities can be holy when I choose to do them as God’s will for me right now, and I ask God for the grace to do them in a loving way.

When we make this short prayer at the beginning of each of our activities and trust in God’s presence and love with us, we are better able to accept any difficulties we may meet in an activity and possibly see them as God’s way of pruning us so that we can bear more fruit.

De Sales’ advice helps us to remember that we are branches on Jesus, the vine, as we go about the tasks of daily living. It also helps us to do our actions and speak our words in a way that is loving.

Let us pray that his advice may help each of us to deepen our friendship with Jesus and to love one another more as Jesus has loved us.