Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. (Jn. 15:4).
In today’s Gospel reading, Our Lord speaks of the reality of our union with Him as a mutual indwelling (perichoresis). ‘Abide in me as I abide in you’. These words are not meant to be understood metaphorically or symbolically. They express the reality of our life in Christ through the Sacraments, especially the union that is brought about or effected the through the Blessed Eucharist or what we logically call Holy Communion. As Christians, we bear the name of Christ and though each one of us is rightly constituted as an individual, through our mutual indwelling with Our Lord, we share in His life. No words of Scripture express this truth as effectively as this well-known verse from St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians: I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (2:20).
When we renewed our Baptismal promises on Easter Sunday, we effectively vowed to deepen our union with Christ Our Lord and to live the mystery of this life in all its fullness. In the traditional order in which the Sacraments are conferred, the Sacrament of the Eucharist completes our initiation in the Mystery of Christ. This is reflected in the liturgical season of Easter. Easter Sunday recalls our Baptism, Pentecost, our Confirmation and the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, the Blessed Eucharist; the Sacrament in which we experience Our Lord’ indwelling in a manner that is most intimate and personal. The Sacred Liturgy forms Christ in us so that we make our own the words of St John the Baptist: He must increase, but I must decrease (Jn. 3:30).