In recent weeks, our Sunday gospel readings have emphasized our need to be led by Jesus, to hear His voice and to follow Him, all actions that are neces- sary if we are to be true disciples.

By means of powerful imagery, the evangelist insists on the need to be united with Jesus. If we meditate deeply on the teachings of Christ and on His exam- ple of life, we can discover that the whole intention of God’s plan of redemption is that we will have life through our union with the Lord.

In a simple sentence Jesus affirms that apart from Him there is no life: Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so nei- ther can you unless you remain in me (Jn 15:4).

We work to establish the Reign of God here on earth in our families, in our society, indeed everywhere; but we have to be conscious that all the work that we do should be built on the solid foundation of our union with Christ. Our spiritual life is precisely to seek and to work for that union with God. Without this connection, we cannot produce fruit; with it we can do anything. In the Lord, we have received grace upon grace, and to be united with Him is a deeper union than we can have with one another. This un- ion is born of love and it gives us strength, because with Him we are not individuals united with others; rather, we are individuals who are united with God Himself, and God lives in us. For that reason Saint Paul exclaimed: I can do all things through Him who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13).

Union with Christ is the goal of all Christian mystics, and it is an anticipation of the unending union that we will have with the Lord in heaven. This joining makes all who are united with him to be the pres- ence and the image of God here on earth. Even though God may appear by means of some super- natural manifestation, God more commonly ap- pears to us in our brothers and sisters, that seeing the fruitful work of their lives, we will be led to Jesus, the very foundation of their lives.

Sometimes, we work hard to change and to be- came better, but the real transformation starts in our union with God, because when we are joined with Him, we begin to be like Him, and makes it possible for us to be transformed from our old selves to become a new creation in Christ. I encourage you not only to be close to God, but to be united to him, remembering the words of Jesus:

Remain in me, as I remain in you.

-Fr. Sergio