View all Gospel Reflections |
Chosen for Fruitfulness
Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Jesus said to his disciples:“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.”
Opening Prayer: Jesus, thank you for calling me your friend and sharing all that the Father has told you. Bless me as I hear your word and help it strengthen me in my mission as your disciple and friend.
- Gift of Love: What greater love could there be than to give the gift of yourself, your very life, for someone you love? No words, no romantic gestures, no gifts of gold could compare. Life is precious, and giving your life for another is equally as precious. St. Thomas Aquinas said that “To love is to will the good of the other.” Christ gave his life for us in the ultimate act of self-giving love. We are called to imitate Christ in his gift of salvific love. God created our hearts to be oriented to loving in this way, for we are most fulfilled when we lovingly give ourselves to others. St. Paul VI wrote: “man…cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself” (Gaudium et Spes 24). We imitate Christ when we offer ourselves as a living sacrifice, living by what St. John Paul the Great called the “law of the gift.” He said, “We become most truly human in the measure in which we go out of ourselves and give ourselves for the sake of others…” What a paradox: to find life, one must give it up as a sacrifice. We find the true meaning and joy in our lives precisely to the degree that we give our lives away to God and others. This is Jesus’s command to us as his disciples: to love one another.
- Chosen: Christ has chosen you to be his cherished possession, his beloved. He chose each one of us, not the other way around. Of course, we have free will and choose for ourselves how to respond to God’s love. But he called and loved us first. God the Father chose us through Christ his Son as part of his plan for salvation: “…he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:4-6). We were each chosen for a specific vocation and mission. We can trust that because God called us to our missions that he will provide the spiritual and material gifts that we need to fulfill our missions. God will not leave us orphans (cf. John 14:18)—he is our Father! He will give us every good thing we need along the way if we only pray and ask him (cf. Matthew 7:11). We can trust that he will save and glorify us when he calls us home: “And those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he also glorified” (Romans 8:30).
- Fruitfulness: God chose us to bear fruit that will remain. St. Paul defines the fruits of the Holy Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22). These are all fruits that will remain. The Catechism teaches that these virtues are “perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory” (CCC 1832). We can bear the fruit of God’s love into the world through acts of love, mercy, and virtuousness. Many people would say that fruitfulness is about productivity, or how much you get done in a day. The world’s idea of a fruitful day might look like a task list that is fully checked off, all emails answered, and future projects planned for maximum efficiency. These are not bad things, but these acts will not remain. They are all temporal—the task list never ends; the email fills up the minute you answer your last one; projects come and go. God’s idea of a fruitful day full of loving acts and virtuousness might actually look unproductive. Think of the parent of a young child who needs to have his or her needs met all day long. Is the loving parent who cares for the child all day very productive, getting lots of things marked off the to-do list? Probably not. But is that parent being fruitful in God’s eyes: lovingly feeding, bathing, dressing, playing, rocking, singing, teaching, and soothing his or her child? Absolutely. All works can be fruitful if done with the intention of making them acts of self-giving love. Jesus tells us that a person can be known by the fruits that they bear: “By their fruits you will know them” (Matthew 7:20). We can ask ourselves if we are truly bearing good fruit for Christ’s name.
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, thank you for calling me to yourself. Thank you for equipping me with everything I need to serve and love you and others. Thank you for saving me and purchasing me with your own precious Body and Blood. Help me to be fruitful in all that I do by offering all my prayers, works, joys, and suffering in union with your own sacrifice of love. Help me to bear fruit that will remain for your glory alone.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will examine my day and consider how I will bear fruit that will remain.
For Further Reflection: Watch this video from Aleteia: “How to Gain the Fruits of the Holy Spirit.”
Written by Carey Boyzuck.