«Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed’, but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead»(James 2:15-17).
Gospel text (Jn 15,12-17): 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.”
Are you Jesus' friend? You are His friend if you do as He commands you (Jn 15:14). His command is to love one another as He has loved us (Jn 15:12). If you do this, you will realize that Jesus laid down His life for you (Jn 15:13), and you will lay down your life for others (1 Jn 3:16). Then you will understand what Jesus the Master is about (Jn 15:15). God's work will not puzzle but enlighten you.
Only Jesus' loving, obedient friends experience this. This crucified love bears much fruit. It opens even the hardest hearts to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.
We bear this abundant, lasting fruit not by our power or efforts but by abiding in the Lord and letting Him abide in us (Jn 15:5). We bear abundant, lasting fruit both by being servants of Jesus who obey Him even when we don't understand Him, and by being friends of Jesus who know what our Master is about (Jn 15:15). We bear fruit by letting the Lord trim us clean by His word (Jn 15:2-3). Ultimately, we bear the right quantity and quality of fruit by loving one another, even to the point of laying down our lives for each other (Jn 15:13). We bear fruit by denying our very selves, taking up the cross each day, and following Jesus (Lk 9:23). Jesus proclaims: "I solemnly assure you, unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat. But if it dies, it produces much fruit" (Jn 12:24).
The cross is the only fruit tree that bears abundant, lasting fruit. Bear the cross; bear fruit.