Homily for May 25, Wednesday of the V week of Easter
When God creates us, He does it for a purpose. I think that we all learned the formula from the old catechism at some point: “God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.”
Exactly how we are able and intended to do that depends on our circumstances and God’s plan. Some people are “cradle Catholics”, who grow up in the faith; others come to know and love God later in life. Some serve Him as lay people, others as religious and/or clergy. Really, there are as many ways to serve God as there are human beings, because each of us is unique in our gifts, which God gives us to fulfill a specific role in the lives of the people we influence.
In order to carry out that role in this life, we need to be united to Christ. It is through our knowing and loving Him – through prayer and the sacraments, through learning more about our faith and reading the Scriptures – that we receive the grace to serve Him well. The images that Jesus uses in the Gospel today are very eloquent: He is the vine; we are the branches. Our spiritual life and our ability to bear fruit for lasting spiritual good comes from Him.
This same image is fairly graphic in showing that how we know, love and serve Him in this life, conditions the possibility of us being happy with Him forever in the next. Those who are not being nourished by Him, and are no longer united to Him, cannot bear fruit. They will dry up, be gathered together, and be burned. We usually don’t want to think about people going to hell, but Jesus reminds us that it is a reality, and some people will in fact go there.
However, He does not want anyone to face that fate. He wants us to remain in Him. He wants the Father to be glorified, and that happens when we “bear much fruit and become [His] disciples.” May God grant each one of us to be united to Him always, and live out the purpose for which He made us. Thus may we and the people around us be verdant and fruitful branches that give glory to the Father in this life, and rejoice with Him forever in the next.