Hyok Kim
April 29, 2018
Hyok Kim

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John 15:1-8


In the Gospel of today, Jesus gives an image of a vine to visualizes the mutual indwelling of the Father and the Son, and of the Son and his disciples. And Jesus urges us to share the heavenly life on earth, to participate in the divine communion with Jesus himself and with the Father.

“Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5). Jesus said, I am the true vine, and you are the branches. If the branches are cut off from the vine, they can do nothing. When the branch remains in the vine, it can bear much fruit, because the vine provides a constant source of life for the branches.

“Abide in me as I abide in you.” It expresses the relationship of Jesus with his disciples, remaining in and sustaining loyalty to him. And the relationship comes from God’s self-giving love for human beings.   



“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest. . . I am poured out like water, . . . you, O Lord, do not be far away! . . . Deliver my soul . . . Save me from the mouth of the lion!” (Psalm 22:1-21a). Last Maundy Thursday, after footwashing, while this Psalm 22 was being read, we watched the church stripped, altar washed, and candles extinguished. And in silence we all left. “Where are you?” But, there is no answer. And, on the cross, he was so broken, looked abandoned, and became a tree uprooted from the ground and water poured out on the ground.

He, however, still remained in him, because He knew God is love, God is the source of life. The Son knew the Father. The Son was in the Father, and the Father was in the Son. “He did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted; he did not hide his face from me, but heard when I cried to him” (Psalm 22:24). Yes, God did not forsake him. God was not far away from him. God did not hide his face, but, God raised him from the dead. And now, Jesus is saying to us, “As I am in the Father, and the Father is in me, abide in me.” And he invites us to share and participate in his divine relationship with the Father. But how?  



Proclaiming the Risen Lord, Apostle Paul says to Corinthians, that we believers are clay jars having spiritual treasure, the gospel of Christ, the water of life, the love of God, revealed in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:7). But I believe, we need to know that, we are so fragile, vulnerable, and broken jars. We are not perfect jars to contain his love. Then, how do we fill our jar with the water of life, the love of God? How do we abide in Jesus, and his love?

I fear the water because I can’t swim. So, I cannot enjoy the water as much as I like. To enjoy the water, I need to learn to swim and practice swimming regularly. To swim is to share and participate in a stream of water, giving myself to the water. However, I tried to hold or grab the water. I tried to have the water. And also I was not in the water. I tried to be upon the water. I did not live the water.

While working on today’s gospel, I realized, I am a broken jar, a broken cup trying to fill it with the water. But, I cannot, because I have a big hole in me, I am too broken to contain the water, just like this broken cup. The reason why I cannot swim is that I have tried to fill my cup with the water. Or, tried to make my cup bigger than me. But, in order to swim, to abide in him, first of all, I need to know that I am a broken vessel, a broken pot (Psalm 31:12). To swim is not to fill my cup with the water. but to be filled by the water, by his love, and to get into the water, and to abide in the water, . . . Like this, . . .  



Jesus is a river, the water of life, the gift of life for us, for all creation, and for all nations, and the water is flowing out of him to water us all (Genesis 2:10; Revelation 22:1-2). To swim in the water is to love the water. To abide in him is to love him. And to love him is to love one another in him. To love one another is to abide in him.

John said in his first letter that, we read today together that, “Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him, because God is love. We also ought to love one another, because God loved us so much. . . . No one has ever seen: if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us, because God is love. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. . . . We love because he first loved us. . . those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also” (1 John 4:7-21). When we love one another, Jesus abides in us. When we love our brothers and sisters whom we meet on the street, we know Jesus abides in us. When we love our neighbors, they know we abide in Jesus.

In God’s love, is no fear. John said in second reading, “God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. . . . There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; . . . whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.” The world we live in urges us to fear. But John is saying, there is no fear in God’s love.

And Isaiah said, “Surely, he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4-5).   



We are a broken vessel, a broken jar made of clay. But by grace, we, a broken jar, have God’s mystery revealed in Jesus Christ. The mystery is God’s self-giving love reveled in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He was broken for us on the cross. But through his brokenness, his emptiness, God’s love flows into us. His brokenness is for us and is his love. Through His wound, Apostle Thomas stops his doubting and confesses, “You are my Lord, my God.”

Jesus gave himself to a stream of His Father’s love, and abided in Him. He was broken, but his brokenness has become a channel of God’s love and peace for us. His brokenness has got filled with God’s love, his wounds has become a mark of God’s love for us. When we enter into his love, when we are immersed into his love, when we abide in his love, our wounds, our weakness, our despair, our sorrow, our broken hearts and minds, also our joy and hope in Christ become a channel through which God’s grace and love reveled in Christ flow to others and our neighbors.

We are too small to contain God’s self-giving love, we are too broken to keep God’s sacrificial love. But we are small enough to immerse ourselves into God’s love, we are broken enough abide in God’s love. John said, “Dear friends, if we do not love our brothers and sisters whom we have seen, how we can say, I love God whom we have not seen” (1 John 4:20).

To abide in him is to abide in his love, let us learn to love and practice the love regularly that God showed us through his Son, and commands us to do.