5th Sunday Easter – Abiding In the True Vine (2): How???
The liturgy proclaims and celebrates the mystery of God revealed in the life, death, & resurrection of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. Grace is always given. The Latin term, ex opere operato, signifies this. That when we gather for liturgy, Grace is always given.
Another Latin term that resembles the above phrase, ex opere operantis, points to the action of receiving what is given.
It helps explain, in a sense, how/why the vine God uprooted from Egypt and planted in the Promised Land did not bear fruit. Really, it’s the story of human beings and human civilization. The Vine, Israel, bore idolatry rather than relationship with God and each other.
The Word proclaimed today has Jesus saying, “I am the True / Faithful / Holy Vine,” Israel made new! How do you receive it? How let it in? How engage it in the deepest part of your life, my life?
Thus, “Behold, the Lamb of God who removes the sin of the world” means God removes every obstacle to a full relationship with God in Christ through the Spirit. Again, how receive this effectively?
Here’s a thought: I find that when I’m restless, irritable, and discontent I rarely turn to God. I distract myself – binge watch NCIS on Netflix. I turn to other ways of dealing with all that muddle. It, in fact, counteracts my desire to remain in the vine. How can I remain in the Vine when I am restless, irritable, and discontent?
Here’s a story: Years ago, a man came to speak with me about his doubts that Jesus Christ was divine and how hard it was to go to Mass. He wanted to believe but doubted. I suggested, “Why don’t you welcome that part of you that doubts to ‘sit next to you’ when you hear the Word?”
In other words, why don’t I welcome that part of me that is fearful, angry, hurt, empty… to ‘sit next to me’ to engage (ex opere operantis) the Word of God proclaimed (ex opere operato)… to receive the Lord as we are.
Here’s the homily. Blessings! _-roc,sj