Monday, October 12, 2020

Missionary communion

“Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit” (Jn 15:5). Bearing fruit is an essential demand of the Christian and ecclesial life. The person who does not bear fruit does not remain in communion: “He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit” (Jn 15: 2).

Communion with Jesus, from which originates the communion of Christians among themselves, is an essential condition for bearing fruit: “without me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5). And communion with others is the most magnificent fruit that the branches can give: in fact, it is the gift of Christ and His Spirit.

Therefore, communion engenders communion, and it appears essentially as a missionary communion. In fact, Jesus says to his disciples: “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain” (Jn 15:16).

Communion and mission are deeply connected with each other, they interpenetrate and mutually imply each other, to the point that communion represents both the source and the fruit of mission: communion is missionary and mission is for communion. It is always the one and the same Spirit who calls together and unifies the Church and sends her to preach the Gospel “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). On her part, the Church knows that the communion received by her as a gift is destined for all people. Thus, the Church feels she owes to each individual and to humanity as a whole, the gift received from the Holy Spirit that pours the charity of Jesus Christ into the hearts of believers, as a mystical force for internal cohesion and external growth.

(Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles laici, Pope John Paul II, No 32, December 30, 1988.)