In the verse that comes immediately following the final verse we heard in today’s reading Jesus says, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love”. These are amazing images of love and intimacy being shared between Jesus and his disciples, as he knows his life with them is about to change dramatically, he tells them that they will be able to continue on and they are ready to produce great fruit and that they are connected to one another and to him and will always remain so.
In the first reading we heard of some of the fruit born of these relationships and this enduring presence. But we also know that there were great struggles as well in the midst of the presence of the Risen One. The disciples were human -- they argued and disagreed -- and still they produced great fruit. Even in the midst of human weakness and failures Christ’s presence has the power to save us from ourselves!
And now as we find ourselves in a cycle of unbelievable law enforcement shootings of unarmed black and brown people and shocking violence towards Asians and Pacific Islanders, and over fifty mass shootings just since March! We watch in terror as COVID-19 ravages the country of India, setting new world records for new cases and deaths day after day. There is so much discord in our world and even in our lives in general, for many of us, how do we hold it together?
I believe that it is through maintaining a conscious connection and awareness of the presence of the risen Christ within us and with us at all times, even when we can’t seem to feel that divine presence and we run out of hope. Christ is still there, still loving us through our darkest moments. This is at the heart of the Gospel message -- we are never abandoned by God.
How or when have I let the power of Christ’s presence within me shine through, guiding my thoughts and actions? Jesus spoke of pruning…What pruning might I need to do to make my life more Christ centered that I might abide in his love more fully and share it with others?