If someone asked you, "Where is Jesus?", how would you answer?
Some would say in heaven.
Some would say in us.
The later would almost fit today's gospel, but is only half right.
In classic John style Jesus speaks of remaining in us but also commands us to remain in him. You may ask, "What's the difference?" Whether he is in us or we are in him we are still together. There is however a great deal of difference.
That he is in us is no longer our doing. From the moment we are baptized God dwells in us, and God will never abandon us. Even when we keep him tucked inside and no one sees him in our actions or hears him in our words, he remains in us.
Remaining in him is much more the challenge. First because it requires that we recede. If we are in him, then he is on the outside. He is what the world sees and hears. Our words and actions are those of Christ.
Secondly, unlike baptism that is once done and never repeated. Remaining in Christ requires constant vigilance on our part. What Christ will never abandon us, we can and do step out of him with some frequency.
Perhaps for the hour when we are in church we can manage to remain in him , but how long is it after mass before we step outside him, before we say or do something we know is not in keeping with the gospel.
Remaining in Christ is like listening. On the surface it sounds like sitting still, doing nothing, passive. In reality it is anything but passive. It requires us to constantly think, and choose. How many times each day does something happen which, if we allow it, could cause us to step outside of Christ. If we are passive we can be swept along in the current and find ourselves a very long way from him.
Athletes speak of being "in the zone." They train constantly so that no matter what happens they can stay in the zone. For us, the zone is Christ, how well do you train to remain in him?