In today’s Gospel, Jesus proclaims that he is the vine and we are the branches. What does the image of Jesus as a vine connote? All nourishment comes to us through Jesus. Without our attachment to him, we are lost. And what is this nourishment that we draw from Jesus? It is grace, a share in the very essence of the Trinity.
Grace is freely given. We don’t “earn” it. But we open ourselves to the reception of this grace through prayer, reflecting on the word of God, and active participation in the Eucharist.
These spiritual exercises are actually formational experiences meant to prepare us for the fundamental mission of the Church – service. Jesus proclaimed that he was among us as one who serves; his whole ministry was one of service as he healed the sick, the blind, and the lame. He raised the dead to life. He fed thousands. His message was one of hope. He repeatedly revealed his Father’s great love for all, especially outcasts and sinners. Dramatically, on the night before he died, he once again asserted himself as one who serves as he washed his disciples’ feet, commanding them to do likewise.
In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus fully identified himself with the hungry, the thirsty, refugees, the ill, and the imprisoned. These are the bodies of Christ who have been pushed to the peripheries. Prayer and Eucharist feed us and mission us to go out to these men, women and children and be for them the warm and loving embrace of Jesus himself. Pope Francis calls them “mobile monstrances’ as they hold up for us the real presence of Jesus in the least of our brothers and sisters.
Let Us Pray:
Jesus, you came to us to reveal the limitless and profound love your Father has for us. Empower us with your grace to truly believe in that love and, with renewed energy, help us embody that love in ourselves as we go out in loving and selfless service to our sisters and brothers. Amen.
Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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