'YOU are already made clean, by the word which I have spoken to you' (John 15,3)
I THINK that when they heard these clear encouraging words spoken by Jesus, the disciples must have rejoiced in their hearts. How wonderful it would be if Jesus were to say the same words to us!
In order to be worthy of his words we should seek to understand them.
Jesus had just been speaking about himself using the famous image of the vine and the branches. He is the true vine, the rather is the vinedresser who cuts off every branch that bears no fruitand prunes every branch that does bear fruit so that it may bear more fruit.
After giving this explanation he goes on to state:
'You are already made clean by the word which 1 have spoken to you'.
You are already made clean ...' What sort of purity is meant?
It is the purity which is necessary for the soul if it is to keep in God's presence, it is the purity which means the absence of obstacles such as sin, which prevent contact with what is sacred, and obstruct our meeting with God.
Help from on high is needed in order to have this purity. In the Old Testament man had already become aware of his inability to draw close to God by his own unaided efforts. God had to purify man's heart, indeed, giving him a new heart.
A beautiful Psalm reads:
'A pure heart create in me 0 God.'
'You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you'.
According to Jesus there is a means which enables us to be pure: his words, The Word, which the disciples heard, and kept to, purified them.
Jesus' word is not like human words. Christ is present in the word, just as he is present in the Eucharist although he is present in two different ways. Through the word Christ enters into us. By accepting the word and practising it we allow Christ to come to life and grow in. our heart.
Pope Paul VI said: `How does Jesus become present in souls? `Through the communication of the Word the divine thought passes, the Word, the son of God made man passes. We could state that the Lord becomes flesh inside us, when we allow the word to come and live inside us'.
'You are already made clean, by the word which I have spoken to you'.
The Word-of-Jesus is also compared-to-a-seedsownin the believer. If the Word is welcomed it enters man and it develops, grows, and bears fruit like a seed; the Word makes us like Christ.
The Word which the Spirit makes part of our inner life really has the power and the ability to keep the Christian far from evil. For as long as we allow the Word to act in us we will be free from sin, and therefore pure. We will only sin if we stop obeying the truth.
'You are already made clean, by the Word which 1 hve spoken to you.'
How should we live so as to deserve the praise of Jesus?
We should put each word of God into practice, nourishing ourselves with it moment by moment. continually carrying out the work of re-evangelisation in our lives. The aim of doing this is to have the same thoughts and feelings as Jesus in order to relive him in the world, in order to sow the divine purity and light which the Gospel gives, to a society which is often swamped in evil and sin. During this month, if possible — i.e. if others we are in contact with share our convictions — let's put into practice in a special way the word which expresses the commandment of mutual love he or she can find a healthy setting which is able to we are considering today, sees a link between the Word of Christ and the new commandment.
According to John, the Word is lived with its effects of purification, holiness and fruitfulness, and it keeps us away from sin and close to God, if it is lived in mutual love. The isolated individual is unable to resist the prompting of the world, but in mutual love he or she can find a healthy setting which is able to protect an authentic Christian life.