Two words, one syllable each, two little letters in each word, yet such powerful and distinct meanings to “in” and “of.” Jesus prays to The Father about not just the apostles but all of us, His disciples, dwelling “in” the world but not “of” the world. The big question all of us must ask ourselves; am I “in” the world or “of” it? The answer is evident in how we act, what we say, what we do, and the fruit which comes from our very existence.
Let’s look at the fruit we produce. Is it good, juicy and life-giving, is it bad, spoiled from lack of use and care, or maybe we just can’t see our fruit!
While we are “in” this world, if we strive to live our lives close to the Lord through prayer, frequent reception of the Sacraments, and loving participation in our parish and diocesan community; we will produce good fruit and not be “of” this world. Well, we will surely falter at times and be caught up with worldly values, but Jesus knew this would happen. Even Our Mother at Fatima encouraged those who had fallen into worldly ways to simply “come back.” So, if you find yourself there, return to prayer, make a good confession, receive Our Lord in the Eucharist, and encounter the living Christ who yearns to dwell intimately in your heart. It is amazing how Jesus Christ can take fruit which we thought was surely rotten and transform it into something good and life-giving.
So many times we just can’t see the fruit we produce. We don’t know whether it is good or bad. We find ourselves standing in the midst of an orchard, with fruit all around us but we don’t know how to pick it up. At these times, we run the risk of watching our precious fruit rot in front of our eyes due to lack of use. Our God given gifts have the opportunity to produce good fruit for the Kingdom of God, if we use them to help others. The key is to take our eyes off of our dilemmas and focus them totally on Jesus which in turn causes us to reach out and help our sisters and brothers in Christ. If we do this, we will suddenly discover we are producing good fruit, we are sharing it with others, and it is not going to waste.
It all starts with choosing to be “of” the world belonging to the Lord and not to the materialistic and self-centered world. Let us hold the prayer Jesus offers for us today close to our hearts. He is taking care of us, holding us close to His Most Sacred Heart, and protecting us out of a deep, personal, and passionate love for all of us.