So often our view of religion is as an individual relationship with God, so often we see our community merely as a support for our individual relationship with God. There is something crucial missing here. Where is the fruit?
The Lord wants us to build up the community by producing more and more Christians. How can we increase the Christian population of the world, and ultimately, of heaven? We can do that by remaining united to the life of Christ we received at our baptism and by which we are nourished every time we receive the Eucharist.
The Lord places upon us the responsibility for the growth of the kingdom of God. He uses us to call other people to himself. At the sunset of our lives we have to stand before the Lord showing him what our lives produced. He is not going to be interested in our bank accounts, our homes, our athletic, intellectual, or artistic accomplishments. No. He is going to count souls. He's going to look to see if we did all we could to bring others to Him. He is going to consider how well we loved.
How can we do this? How can we be a source of God's presence for others? His voice in the gospel is very clear: I am the vine and you are the branches. He who lives in me and I in him will produce fruit abundantly. We are not just members of organized religion. Our relationship with God is even deeper than mere confessing that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. Jesus is not out there. He is in here. He lives in us. We live in Him. The good that we do, the virtue that we practice, flows from the life blood of Jesus Christ that is in our veins.
If we want to do our best for Him we need to stay united to the vine, united to Christ. We received this life at baptism, but if we cut ourselves off from this life by ignoring the vine, by slacking off from our worship of God, then we will have no fruit to bring before God's throne.
It is not enough to say we are people of faith, to say we are Catholic. We have to practice our faith. We have to stay united to the vine.
It is not easy business being a Christian, being a Catholic. It means dedication, sacrifice, determination to live as Christ called us. It demands having something to show for our lives. But we can do this, and we will do this, as long as we are united to the Lord, to the vine whose life flows through us.
We pray today –trough the intercession of our Blessed Mother- that we might all have the spiritual courage to remain grafted onto Christ ■
 Fifth Sunday of Easter, year B, May 10, 2009. Readings: I: Acts 9:26-31, Responsorial Psalm: 22:26-27, 28, 30, 31-32, Reading II: 1 John 3:18-24, Gospel: John 15:1-8