REMAIN IN MY LOVE (John 15:9-10)






Praise the Lord! Now and forever!

In the course of His discourse with disciples/apostles at the Last Supper, our Lord Jesus Christ used the illustration of the vine, its branches and the vine-grower. By this illustration, our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us that we can grow spiritually and eventually be saved only when we remain/abide in Him: “Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides[/remains] in the vine, neither can you unless you abide[/remain] in me. … Those who abide[/remain] in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5).

Our Lord then goes on to talk specifically about remaining in His love: “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide[/remain] in my love (John 15:9). Hence, our theme: “Remain in My Love” (John 15:9-10).


Under this theme, we will reflect on the following eight (8) points:

  • The Love of Christ
  • How to remain in Christ’s Love
  • Love is Patient
  • Love is Kind
  • Love is Selfless
  • Love is Humble
  • Love is Merciful
  • Steadfast Love


The main assumptions for this presentation are:

  • We believe in our Lord Jesus Christ
  • We receive God’s grace through the Holy Spirit
  • We strive to detest sin

What is the love of Christ? Whereas we cannot fully define or describe the awesome love of Christ, we can identify some of its admirable characteristics. And who else among the writers of the books of Scriptures can help us identify these features of Christ’s love than St. Paul? Knowing his past as a zealous persecutor of Christ and His Church, he deeply appreciated the Lord’s love: “the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20b).

St. Paul came to the realization that Christ’ love for him and all humanity is patient, kind, selfless, merciful, humble, steadfast, etc. Therefore, imitating Christ himself, St. Paul invites us to imitate the love of Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 11:1). Hence, he describes love as follows: “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable; it keeps no record of wrongs; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Cor. 13:4-7). Simply put, St. Paul’s description is inspired by Christ’s love for us.


How, then, do we remain in Christ’s love? Fortunately, Christ Himself provides us with the answer. He says: “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love” (John 15:10). That is, it is by keeping Christ’s commandments that we remain in His love.

However, the commandments are many. Happily, the command to love fulfils all the other commandments (cf. Matt. 22:34-40). More so, when we love as Christ has loved us. Hence, Christ instructs us: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). Thus, Christ makes His love the standard or model for us.

So, when we love others as Christ has loved us, we remain in His love. To love as He has loved us means that our love must be patient, kind, selfless, humble, merciful, steadfast, etc. Let us consider further these characteristics of Christ’s love.


“Love is patient; …it is not irritable” (1 Cor. 13:4,5). To be patient is to be able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, suffering or unmet expectations without becoming annoyed or anxious. In His earthly ministry, Christ demonstrated patience with His disciples and general audience because of His love for them. Even today, we enjoy His loving patience when we fall below His expectations.

Patience is like a leaf on the branch of the vine. On the one hand, a leaf is delicate, so it can easily drop. Similarly, it is easy to lose our patience. On the other hand, a leaf is vital for the production of plant energy or food through photosynthesis. Therefore, instead of easily getting angry with our children, siblings, spouses, parents, fellow church members, work colleagues, and others, let us, like Christ, be patient with them. For this is a sure way of remaining in the love of Christ.


“Love is kind” (1 Cor. 13:4). To be kind is to be thoughtful, generous or helpful. Our Lord was kind in His earthly ministry and He is ever kind to us. His kindness is evident in His numerous miracles. For instance, by miraculously feeding the thousands of followers who were hungry in the desert, Christ showed compassion and kindness to them (cf. Mark 6:30-44).

Kindness is like the xylem in the branch of the vine. A xylem is the inner vascular tissue which carries the water and nutrients from the roots of the vine through its branches to the leaves, fruits, etc. Similarly, through kindness we provide for the needs of others. In this way, we remain in the love of Christ.


Love “does not insist on its own way” (1 Cor. 13:5). This means that love is selfless or unconditional. Christ demonstrates selfless love is many ways. For instance, at the Last Supper, He loved the apostles to the end even though He was very much aware that Judas would betray Him, Peter would deny Him and the rest would desert Him.

Selflessness is like the seed of the fruit of the vine. The seed dies to give new life and plenty fruits (cf. John 12:24). So, our Lord did not only call the betrayer, the denier and the deserters as “friends” but He willingly died for them out of great love (cf. John 15:13). Similarly, we should love whether we are betrayed or loved, denied or acknowledged, disliked or liked, etc. This is a sure way of remaining in the love of Christ.


Love is not “boastful or arrogant” (1 Cor. 13:4). On the contrary, love is humble. That is, one who truly loves shows a modest or low estimate of his/her importance when relating to the other. Humility is like the seemingly unimportant twig which anchors fruits and leaves on a branch. Christ demonstrated humility in many ways. At the Last Supper alone, He displayed humility in several ways. Firstly, from the position of being served at table, Christ got up from the table to serve the disciples at table (cf. John 13:4). Let us likewise serve others or our community by taking up their roles that are below our social status.

Secondly, Christ took off the master’s garment and wrapped Himself with the servant’s towel. I see a symbolism here. That is, it was as if Christ took off the garment of His equality with God and wrapped Himself with the towel of the lower dignity of humans (cf. Phil 2:6-11). Therefore, the Christ-like humility entails “putting aside” our status and achievements, while serving others with respect and politeness.

Thirdly, the most sacred and precious hands ever which had just handled the most holy body and blood would wash the dirty feet of the callous man, Judas, as well as the dirty feet of the timid eleven apostles. This is a demonstration of sublime humility. This should inspire us to always show humility in loving others.


Love “keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Cor. 13:5). That is, to love others is to be forgiving or merciful to them. Our Lord Jesus Christ did not only demonstrate ultimate merciful love by dying on the cross for our sins, He pleaded with the Father to forgive us while He endure the crucifixion: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

Therefore, instead of nurturing hatred or vengeance towards those who have offended us (be they our children, siblings, spouses, parents, fellow church members, work colleagues, or others), let us, like Christ, forgive them. This is a sure way of remaining in the love of Christ, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt. 6:14-15). In other words, if we are merciful, we remain in Christ like a branch on the vine. Otherwise, we are like a cut-off branch.


Love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:7). This is a description of steadfast love – a love that is constant or unchanging in all circumstances. Steadfast love is like the fruits which a vine bore, because the vine-grower worked on it in both good and bad weathers. More so, the love of Christ for us is steadfast. This is the testimony of St. John: “Jesus …, having loved those who were His own in the world, loved them to the end” (John 13:1). He loved to the end even when one was betraying, another was denying and the others were deserting Him.

The Book of Lamentations aptly, therefore, describes the steadfast love of our Lord:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,    His mercies never come to an end;they are new every morning;    great is your faithfulness (Lam. 3:22-23).

Therefore, beloved, our love for others which must be patient, kind, selfless, humble, merciful, etc., should be steadfast. In other words, we should love others not only in good times, but in bad times; not only in riches but in poverty; not only in health, but in sickness; not only when they appreciate our love but even when they do not appreciate it, etc.


Beloved, our Lord invites us to remain in His love. We have looked at what His love means and how to remain in it. His love for us is patient, kind, selfless, humble, merciful, steadfast, etc. To remain in this amazing love, we should likewise love others with patience, kindness, selflessness, humility, mercy, steadfastness, etc.

May Christ give us the grace to so love one another! Amen!

Bishop John Kobina Louis

Most Rev. John Kobina Louis is an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Accra, Ghana. More about him here.

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Catholic Homilies and Sermons for the Liturgical Year by Most Rev. John Kobina Louis, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Accra, Ghana.

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