Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Thursday 16 September |
Saint of the Day: Sts Cornelius and Cyprian
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Reasons to stay with Jesus


Rembrandt © Joseph Levy

Tom Hoopes - published on 04/27/18

Sunday Mass lessons

In the readings this Sunday, the Fifth Sunday of Easter Year B, Jesus asks his disciples to “remain in him” — to abide in him, to stay in his life.

It’s a plea we are familiar with. Many of our songs feature a lover pleading to “stay with me.” But this is very different. He wants us to stay not because he needs us, but because we need him.

He says to stay with him because he makes you strong.

“I am the vine, you are the branches,” he says in the Gospel. “Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.”

These words are taken from the Last Supper Discourse in John. He said them to the apostles the night they received the First Eucharist. They knew what he meant: The Eucharist makes us one with Jesus the way branches are one with a vine.

What fruit do we produce from the Eucharist? According to the Catechism, each Communion:

  • “preserves, increases and renews the life of grace received at baptism” (No. 1393)
  • “separates us from sin” (No. 1394)
  • “strengthens our charity” (No. 1394)
  • “preserves us from future mortal sins” (No. 1395)
  • “commits us to the poor” (No. 1397)

This is what happens to us if we abide with him. What happens if we don’t?

“Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither,” he says.

If you stay but don’t see these fruits in your life, he says to look for the Father.

The fruits we see in our lives are his. If we lack fruits, Jesus says to be open to losing whatever is impeding our progress.

“My Father is the vine grower,” he says. “He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.”

Our first job is to stay. Our next job is to stay open to losing what stands in God’s way.

Stay with him as you would stay with a friend.

If imagining Jesus as a vine is not helpful to you, the Church has embedded this Sunday’s Gospel in readings that are much more understandable. The First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles explains how Paul found a home in the Church. The First Letter of John is all about what fellowship with Jesus looks like.

The message of both: Staying with Jesus is very much like staying with any other friend.

We don’t neglect to say “Hello” to a friend. We shouldn’t neglect prayer.

We don’t just love our friends “in word or speech” but also in “deed and truth.”

We don’t do what our friend hates — “we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.”

And since friends don’t always get along, we have to apologize. It is the same with God.

Stay with him even if you feel out of place for a time.

Read more:
Why are Catholics so notoriously bad at fellowship?

But maybe we don’t feel very friendly toward the faith. We may feel out of place in our parish — and right at home somewhere else.

This is how Paul felt in the First Reading. When he converted to Christianity, his Jewish friends rejected him, his new Christian community feared him, and the people he debated with wanted to kill him.

He should be the patron saint of people who feel out of place in their parish.

He stayed anyway and what happened?

Stay for the sake of the kids. And your neighbors. And your fellow parishioners. Stay to improve their lives.

After Paul stayed, says the Second Reading, “The Church throughout all Judea, Galilee and Samaria was at peace. It was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord, and with consolation of the Holy Spirit it grew in numbers.”

We are in the same situation.

God wants to bring everyone we know to a better place. He wants to give them spiritual courage in this life and to eternal bliss in the next.

If we walk away, others will follow and wither with us. If we just remain in him, abide with him — stay — then others will stay too. And the vine will increase, and thrive.


Read more:
How my son’s wedding showed me that ‘one, holy, catholic and apostolic’ perfectly describes the Church

Sunday Lessons

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Cerith Gardiner
Our favorite stories of celebrities who inspire us in daily life
Philip Kosloski
How receiving Holy Communion can drive away demons
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Pope considers what to do with pro-abortion Catholic politicians
Berthe and Marcel
Lauriane Vofo Kana
This couple has the longest marriage in France
As irmãs biológicas que se tornaram freiras no instituto Iesu Communio
Francisco Veneto
The 5 biological sisters who joined the religious life in just tw...
Philip Kosloski
Why is the feast of the Holy Cross celebrated on September 14?
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been known to f...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.