The greatest challenge we face in our changing and hostile world today as Catholic Christians is the ability to witness to Christ and proclaim His gospel in the world. Everyday we face new challenges, trials, problems, difficulties, obstacles, struggles, dangers and persecution. It can be very overwhelming and frustrating because we are constantly trying our hardest and our best to follow Christ and to be faithful to God. The Easter season calls us to witness to Christ and testify for Him in our world today as the apostles and His disciples did in the Acts of the Apostles. But how can we do so with the challenges and persecution we face in our world today?

Jesus tells us in today’s gospel reading from the holy Gospel according to St. John, chapter 15:1-8 to remain in Him and His words remain in us, so that whatever we ask for or want, will be done for us. For by this is His Father glorified, that we may bear much fruit and become His disciples.” Jesus continues and said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. And anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned.”

Our first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 9:26-31, clearly shows us why remaining in Christ can bear much fruit as Jesus stated in the gospel reading. In our first reading, we heard of how the apostles and the disciples of Christ fearlessly proclaimed His gospel that the church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria were at peace, were built up and walked in the fear of the Lord, and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit, grew in great numbers. So how can we remain in the Lord and He in us? St. John in today’s second reading from the first Letter of Saint John, chapter 3:18-24, teaches us how we can remain in Christ and answer our call to discipleship by witnessing to Christ and testifying for Him in our world today. According to St. John, if we want to remain in the Lord and He in us so as to better answer our call to discipleship, we have to:

  • believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ,
  • have confidence in God,
  • love one another just as he commanded us, not in word or speech, but in deed and truth.
  • And lastly, keep his commandments by doing what pleases him.

Hence my brothers and sisters in Christ, let us remain in the Lord and He in us as Jesus taught us, by believing in Him our Creator, Savior and Redeemer; by having more confidence in Him because without Him we can do nothing; by loving one another in deed and truth as He loves us; and by pleasing Him in keeping His commandments.