“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from me you can do nothing.”
Wednesday, 5 May 2021
We are invited, by Jesus, to abide in him. Abiding in Jesus includes a number of different things. One of these – and an important one – is being part of the life of the Christian community. Human beings are, by nature, social. We are communitarian. We grow as people when we are in relationship with others. Community is an important part of our self-understanding and our ability to flourish.
As believers, we are invited to participate in the Christian community so that we can offer mutual support in times of joy and sadness, share faith with each other, worship together, share in the sacramental life of the Church, study the faith and the scriptures and work for justice in the world. When we are drawn into an intimate relationship with the Lord, we are also drawn into an intimate relationship with other people.
It is perhaps one of the big heresies of our time: thinking that faith is a personal, private affair between God and me. In the early Church – which we hear a lot about in the Easter Season – there was no place for individualism. They, we are told, shared everything in common (Acts 2:44).
Our Christian faith, our relationship with God, impels us to work at building relationships with others. Our Christian faith is lived out. It is practised in the context of our relationships with others. All the qualities of God – compassion, love, mercy, forgiveness – are qualities that we are urged to inculcate and live in our communities. Abiding in Jesus means rejecting individualism and participating in and building up the bonds of communion in our communities.
What are you actively doing to engage and build up your local community?
What more could you do to participate in and contribute to your community?