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Fifth Sunday of Easter, May 5-6, 2012

posted May 9, 2012, 10:52 AM by fathermark@stmaryshuntingburg.org

            "Remain in me, as I remain in you" ... so Jesus says in today's Gospel.
"Remain in me as I remain in you."


            When we are parted ... separated ... from someone important to us ... from someone we love ... by distance ... or by death ...

... we can say that the person remains "in our thoughts and prayers."

We could say that the person remains "in our hearts."

That person remains in our cherished memories.

Our parted loved ones are not with us physically, of course, ... not bodily ... not, in that sense, "really" ... but they are with us in some important way.


            "Remain in me, as I remain in you," says Jesus today.

Here, Jesus is saying a lot more than that he will remain in our thoughts or in our hearts or in our memories.

Jesus saying that he himself will remain with us ... he himself ...

... and not only "with" us ... but "in" us ... really, personally, completely ... in us ... within us ... united with us.

            Before we receive communion at Mass, we say (in the new translation):
"Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof ..."

"Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof ..."

Receiving our Lord in holy communion is receiving him—the Lord Jesus himself---really, personally, completely—into  our souls, into our bodies, into our lives ... and, in that sense, into our "homes" ("under our roofs," as we say) ...

In holy communion, Our Lord comes to "commune" with us ... to be with us ... and, really, to be  in us ... one with us.


            There's a story about St. Philip Neri that, when he was celebrating Mass in his parish, he noticed that there was a man who always left right after receiving communion without taking any apparent time to make a thanksgiving for receiving this incredible gift of the Eucharistic presence of Jesus.

So, one Sunday, when the man left right away without any apparent thanksgiving as usual, St. Philip sent two servers after him with lighted candles to walk beside him down the street ...

Of course, people began to gawk at the fellow rather quickly ... and so the man went back to the saint to ask what was up with that ...

And the Saint said: The Lord Jesus dwells within you ... lives in you ... in holy communion ... and if you won't take time to acknowledge that awesome fact, the presence of those two servers will.


            "Remain in me as I remain in you."

We can think about this saying of Jesus especially at Mass, but Jesus isn't just talking about his Eucharistic presence at Mass.

Through baptism, Jesus unites himself to each one of us.

If we are "in a state of grace"—that is, if we haven't separated ourselves from him .... closed the door to him ... through serious sin, he truly dwells in each one of us ... not physically but in His Holy Spirit—which is nothing less than he himself.


            The Lord remains in us precisely to help us.

The Lord remains in us to guide us to what is good.

He remains in us to strengthen us in the face of temptation.

He remains in us to support us in times of trial ... to comfort us in times of grief ... to heal us when we feel wounded ... to prop us up when we feel weak ... to hold us when we are afraid.


            But the Lord doesn't remain in us ... just for us.

"Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit ..."

He wants us to bear fruit.

He wants to remain active and present in the world in us and through us and with us.

If the Lord remains in us ... we will be better Christians ... better spouses ... better parents .... better children ... better neighbors ... better co-workers ... better friends to our friends.

The Lord will accomplish in us ... and with us ... and through us ... what He wills for our world.


            Today, then, at this Eucharist, as we receive his Sacred Life ... His Eucharistic Presence ... in Holy Communion ... let's fling open the doors of our hearts, our souls, our lives to him ...

Let's remain in him.

And let's bear fruit by making his presence known in our daily lives.