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Dwellers and Dwellings

First Reading: Acts 15:1-6

Some who had come down from Judea were instructing the brothers,
“Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic practice,
you cannot be saved.”
Because there arose no little dissension and debate
by Paul and Barnabas with them,
it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others
should go up to Jerusalem to the Apostles and presbyters
about this question.
They were sent on their journey by the Church,
and passed through Phoenicia and Samaria
telling of the conversion of the Gentiles,
and brought great joy to all the brethren.
When they arrived in Jerusalem,
they were welcomed by the Church,
as well as by the Apostles and the presbyters,
and they reported what God had done with them.
But some from the party of the Pharisees who had become believers
stood up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them
and direct them to observe the Mosaic law.”

The Apostles and the presbyters met together to see about this matter.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 122:1-2, 3-4AB, 4CD-5

R. (see 1) Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
I rejoiced because they said to me,
“We will go up to the house of the LORD.”
And now we have set foot
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
According to the decree for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
In it are set up judgment seats,
seats for the house of David.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

Gospel: John 15:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in me.
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.
Anyone who does not remain in me
will be thrown out like a branch and wither;
people will gather them and throw them into a fire
and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified,
that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”

ESV

DEV_A27

I would like to think that I am a good house guest. I clean up after myself, I graciously thank my host, I offer to help, and I respect the life and lifestyle of my hosts. I used to think that is how I should show up to church. I should be wearing my Sunday best, I should be courteous in the parking lot, I should be early, I should shake hands and offer warm smiles, I should sit quietly and be a good guest in the house of the Lord. Wouldn’t Miss Manners be pleased?

But God is not calling us to simply be a house guest, a temporary visitor, or an old friend who stops by on occasion.

He has called us to truly dwell in His house.

To me that means, take up space, ask questions, have tough conversations, kick up your feet (figuratively) and get comfortable because this is not a three-day weekend, this is your life and soul—for eternity.

Now of course, I am still a proponent for politeness at Mass (and in general for that matter). I do not take up a whole pew when it’s a full house, I turn off my phone, I don’t scowl at those honking in the parking lot. But I have learned that I must make His house my own dwelling as well. I immerse myself in the homily, I participate in the sacraments, I sing heartily and enthusiastically, I am part of different ministries, I bring a wiggly toddler and show her that this is her house too. I am rolling up my sleeves and taking up space.

“Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.”

Preach.

We are called to dwell in the house of the Lord—in His physical house yes, but also His spiritual house. Don’t be afraid to take up space in your relationship with Him. Get your hands dirty.

photo credit

Samantha Aguinaldo-Wetterholm is a wife, mom, and dentist currently living in the Bay Area, California. You can find out more about her here.

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