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Live On in My Love

The gospel readings for the Fifth and Sixth Sundays of Easter come from John 15:1-17, which is sub-titled, “Jesus the True Vine.” Already you’re probably thinking, “I know where you’re going with this; ‘I am the vine; you are the branches.’” But wait a minute. In those 17 verses, Jesus hands us a treasure trove of wisdom to reflect on, lots of memorable quotes, and enough material to fill a page or a chapter or maybe even a whole book. Check these out:

  • Verse 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches.” 
  • Verse 8 “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit”
  • Verse 9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.”
  • Verse 11 “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that  your joy may be full.”
  • Verse 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
  • Verse 13 “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
  • Verse 16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you”

Those are just the highlights. When you read the full story, you see how Jesus takes something as common as a vine and demonstrates how we, as His disciples, become intimately connected to Him and to the Father. He talks about pruning and about bearing fruit; but mostly, He tells us to abide or remain in His love. Some translations use the words continue or stay, but I like the one that says, live on. “Live on in my love.”

I was reflecting on that phrase from John 15:9 while trying to get some housework done, when an idea literally fell into my lap. I was trying to move a stack of books, when a small one slipped out of the pile. The little book was titled, Pope John Paul II His Essential Wisdom. It was a collection of short quotes taken from many homilies, speeches, and encyclicals. I found a piece of paper in it on which I had scribbled, Live on in my love John 15:9. It was next to a quote from a 1993 encyclical entitled, “Veritatis Splendor,” which means, “The Splendor of Truth.” When I read it, I knew right away why I’d marked that quote. It was clear and simple, yet powerful and beautiful.

“To imitate and live out the love of Christ is not possible for man by his own strength alone. He becomes capable of this love only by virtue of a gift received. As the Lord Jesus receives the love of his Father, so he in turn freely communicates that love to his disciples: “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Live on in my love” (John 15:9).

To me, “Live on in my love” suggests moving forward, persevering, facing every obstacle and taking every step, knowing that we are fully immersed in the love of Jesus. Pope John Paul reminds us that we can only do that because of a “gift received.” Only by the grace of God,  the love of Jesus Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit do we learn to love as He did, to serve as He did, and to sacrifice as He did. Only by grace do we experience the fullness of His joy, now and forever. Amen.

“No Greater Love” by Michael Joncas,

1 thought on “Live On in My Love

  1. Love this! Live on in my love. What a wonderful thought. I am forwarding this to my friend Marianne. Perhaps it will help her after the loss of her son. Thank you!❤️🙏

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