“The mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations is now disclosed to the saints.” (Col 1:26)
What is this mystery? St. Paul says it is “Christ in you, the hope of glory! (vs. 27)
Can Christ be in us? Jesus says, “Remain in me and I will remain in you.” In fact, he says if we do not remain in him we cannot bear fruit in our lives. He uses the analogy that he is the vine and we are the branches, and says no branch can bear fruit by itself. It must remain connected to the vine. He then makes the amazing statement that, “apart from me you can do nothing.”
Basically, Paul is saying in his letter to the Colossians that Jesus, through his birth, teaching, death and resurrection, is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation; in him all things hold together; he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from the dead; and he came to reconcile to himself all things.” (Col 1:15-23)
If we invite Jesus into our lives and remain in him, what kind of fruit was he talking about? St. Paul, in his letter to the Galatians says, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Gal 5:22-23)
From all of this, we see that Jesus wants to stay connected to us, as a vine is connected to a branch, and live in us by the power of the Holy Spirit so that we will bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
I have a friend who teaches Ancient History to middle school boys at a Blue Ribbon Christian school. He also serves as the property manager for the school and the administrator for a Christian community that supports the school. His life reflects a veritable market of the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
In his many and varied responsibilities he treats all people, regardless of who they are, with kindness and respect – students, parents, fellow teachers, repairmen, and all who come to him requesting his help on various matters. You can find him on campus humbly fixing a toilet in one of the school’s buildings, as well as taking time after class with a student needing extra help on a homework assignment.
In contrast to most of our society today, he and his wife took in his elderly parents when they could no longer care for themselves, including his father whose remaining years were burdened with advanced Alzheimer’s. Early in their marriage they lost an infant son. In the course all of these challenges he has maintained a bright smile, a lively sense of humor and the joy of the Lord.
My friend loves God and he loves people both in his words and actions. His life reflects “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”