September 2, 2005

Serra Club Essay: Priests, brothers and sisters live by the Holy Spirit

By Michael O’Neill

In John’s Gospel, Jesus told his disciples to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last forever. Jesus’ proposition has puzzled humans ever since.

How can a mortal produce anything that will last forever? The explanation is in his word. To bear fruit is to bring life to Jesus because only God can offer everlasting life.

In Jn 15:5b, Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.”

Priests, brothers and sisters bear fruit daily because of the choice they made, the choice to follow Jesus and to live by the Spirit.

Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, told the people to live by the Spirit, for life in the Spirit is under no law. When people choose Jesus as their savior, the Spirit of the Lord fills them and purifies them forever.

Living by the Spirit requires faith, faith that God will make a person’s life into what he sees fit, and faith that his will is beyond human comparison.

People live to fill a hole in their lives. They search for fulfillment in others, objects and objectives, but they can never be satisfied.

Only Jesus can give contentment, and he wants his people to experience the fruits of the Spirit. To bear fruit, one must show fruit. The fruits of the Spirit are seen through love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Jesus did not ask humanity to be perfect. He asked humanity to follow and love him.

Priests, brothers and sisters bear everlasting fruit because they let Jesus hold the reins of their lives. All things are possible through Jesus, and he is waiting to give his love.

Humans just need to accept him. Humanity is shackled in its sins, and sinners cannot free sinners, just as the blind cannot lead the blind. Life has so much to offer, but sin blinds humanity from what it can be given.

John finished chapter 15 with Jesus’ words, “This I command you: love one another.” It is through love that all people are saved. It is through love that all can bear fruit. It is through love that life can be fulfilling.

Jesus said, “Go and bear everlasting fruit.” Only through him can everlasting fruit be born.

(Michael and his parents, Tom and Denise O’Neill, are members of St. Simon the Apostle Parish in Indianapolis. He is now a senior at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis and was the 11th-grade division winner in the 2005 Serra Club Vocations Essay Contest.)


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