THEME: REMAIN CONNECTED TO JESUS
READINGS: Acts 9: 26 – 31/ 1 John 3:18 – 24/ John 15:1 – 8
5th Sunday of Easter
In today’s gospel reading (John 15:1-8), Jesus uses the imagery of the vine and its branches to teach us that without him we can do nothing. On the other hand, if we are connected to him we receive many blessings and graces. For those not familiar with the vine and its branches, I wish to offer another imagery to encourage us to remain connected to Jesus. In our world today, the use of mobile phone has become a common feature. I, therefore, wish to use the connection between one’s phone and a telecom network to illustrate the need for us to remain connected to Jesus, so as to enjoy divine blessings and graces.
Now, let us look at the details of the new imagery of the phone and its network connection:
- God the Father = Network Service Provider or Operator
- Jesus = One and only Network that the Father operates
- We (Humans) = Phones
- Our Faith = SIM Card
- God’s Grace = Phone Credit
- Our Good works = Electrical Charge for Phone Battery.
God’s Telecom Network (GTN) is available everywhere 24/7 throughout eternity. Indeed, on GTN, there is no place (even under the sea or on the remotest planet) that you would experience ‘no service’ or ‘out of coverage area’.
- As one’s phone is connected to a network via its SIM card, so we get connected to Jesus through faith. Faith is our spiritual SIM card.
- SIM cards are normally sold, though during a promotion, they could be given out freely.
- Fortunately for us, the promotion of GTN (God’s Telecom Network) which began 2,000 years ago will continue until Christ comes again in glory. Therefore, faith, our spiritual SIM card, is always free until Christ comes again.
Being Disconnected (Fruitless Branches)
- If faith gets us connected to Jesus, then the lack of faith or sin in general disconnects us.
- Therefore, beloved, if the lack of faith or sin has disconnected us from Jesus, then let us plead for forgiveness and the renewal of our faith (the free spiritual SIM card).
Bearing fruits (Fruitful Branches)
- Besides the SIM card, we need some phone credits (units) to enjoy the services of a network. Similarly, besides the initial connection to Jesus by faith, we need God’s grace (our spiritual phone credit) to continue to enjoy his blessings.
- Our phones may have SIM cards and adequate credits, but if their batteries have completely ran down, we cannot make calls. Similarly, besides the faith (SIM card) and grace (credit), we need to charge our spiritual battery with good works (our spiritual electric power).
We do good works by obeying the commandments of Jesus. Hence, he says: ‘You will remain in my love if you keep my commandments, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love’ (John 15:10).
Let us now consider the benefits that Jesus offers us for remaining connected to him. Indeed, what he offers us far exceeds what any telecom network can give.
- A network service provider can give us a new phone but cannot change our ‘personality’. However, when we remain connected to Jesus, the Bible says that God (the GTN Service Provider) will make us a ‘new creation’ (2 Cor. 5:17) – that is, a total change of our ‘personality’!
- A network service provider may value us as customers, but he/she may not be interested in making us his/her friend. On the other hand, Jesus says that when we are connected to him, we become his friends (John 15:15).
- A network service provider may give us some free credits to show his appreciation to us, but he/she would not go to the extent of making us sharers in the very joy of his/her booming business. Jesus, on the other hand assures us: I want my joy to be in you, so that your joy may be complete (John 15:11).
- A network service provider may do strict business with us and may not be interested in our personal needs; but Jesus says if we are connected to him, our prayers will be answered (John 15:7).
- A network service provider will not share his personal fortunes with us; but the Bible says, when we are connected to Jesus, the Father ‘blesses us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens’ (Eph. 1: 3)!
To conclude, I pray:
- that if sin and the lack of faith have disconnected us from Jesus, we will confess our sins and so be re-connected to him today! Amen!
- that if we are connected to Jesus, we shall enjoy the benefits of being a new creation, friends of Jesus, filled with his joy, answered whenever we pray, and be beneficiaries of heavenly blessings! Amen!
By Very Rev. Fr. John Louis
Image Credit: The Sermon on the Mount, from The Life of Our Lord, published by Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (London c.1880).