May 9, 1999

John 14:15-21

Jesus said to his disciples:

"If you love me, you will do as I command. Then I will ask the Father to send you the Holy Spirit who will help you and always be with you. The Spirit will show you what is true. The people of this world cannot accept the Spirit, because they don't see or know him. But you know the Spirit, who is with you and will keep on living in you.

"I won't leave you like orphans. I will come back to you. In a little while the people of this world won't be able to see me, but you will see me. And because I live, you will live. Then you will know that I am one with the Father. You will know that you are one with me, and I am one with you. If you love me, you will do what I have said, and my Father will love you. I will also love you and show you what I am like." [CEV]


1. In this day we often feel like orphans. We have to walk lonesome valleys all by our self. The new around us separates us from a sense of family. To counter this we invest in a small group of folks like ourselves. We set up feuds between groups. Even these specialized groups don't help us feel less like orphans. We sense some of this in talk about the millennium and a nearing time of disaster (at least that is the feeling level). We have a difficult time recognizing that the Spirit keeps on living in us and urging us into the larger community of love of God and neighbor and self and one-another and enemy. This larger community is the major thrust of Jesus' commands.

2. This issue of seeing life and love coming toward us, or not, is an indication of the area of conversion needed in our own lives and in the life of the world. Acceptance of the Spirit is not a short-cut to security and avoidance of hurt and pain and death. Those short-cuts and avoidances are the way of the world. Acceptance of the Spirit leads us to seeing to the depths of life, not seeing the surface and being satisfied there. This is a question of how you see the future coming toward you and the world. Do you see a larger life and love drawing near yourself and all others? If so, Hooray! The next question is how far off do you see it? What will it take for you to accept it as already present within you?

3. Did you catch all the multiple "one with" language. This points at the task of evangelization, narrowcasting and broadcasting terrific good news. In the midst of Kosovo and Littleton and your community and family and self -- with all the sadness attendant thereto, let us listen again to this word of hope -- we are not orphans. We can live out of anticipated healed relationships and not be limited by the fractious betrayals of one another up to this point. We pray, "Jesus, come soon."

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