May 1, 2005 - Easter 6
15 If you love me, you will keep my commandments; 16 and I will ask the Father and he will give you another Helper to be with you forever, 17 that Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him for he is with you and will be in you.
18 I will not leave you orphans, I am coming to you. 19 A little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me because I live and you will also live. 20 On that day you will know that I am in my Father and you in me, and I in you.
21 Whoever keeps my commandments is the one who loves me. If he loves me, he will also be loved by my Father; I too shall love him and show myself clearly to him.”
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Now, knowing what is the goal, we should walk towards this definitive communion. “I am the way,” says Jesus. He became human precisely so that we might see the Father in him. He followed his way, so disconcerting for us, so that, meditating on his actions, we would progress towards the truth. Although in the beginning we may not understand him well, with time, we will discover the Lord and understand that his way is ours. Passing through the cross and death, we will achieve our own truth and arrive at life.
I am in the Father, and the Father is in me, and you in me (vv. 11 and 20). Christ makes us enter into the divine family. Thus, we no longer speak of approaching God as if he were far from us. We no longer feel as if God were a single person in front of us. We enter “into” the mysterious life of the divine Persons who share everything and who are the one and only God. Material things cannot penetrate each other; but in the world of the spirit such is possible. Christ is in the Father and the Father in him. They make their home within us (v. 23).
In the introduction to the Gospel, John explained that all of God’s actions in the world should be understood in the light of the intimate relationship between the Father and the Son. Now he adds that the presence of God in us is due to another person, the Holy Spirit. Neither the Father alone, whom no one has seen, nor the Son, who made himself known, can enter into communion with people. They can, however, do so by means of the Spirit, whom we should call: God who is communicated. Hence we call spiritual life everything that refers to our relationship with God.
The spiritual life includes three elements:
keeping the words of Jesus: meditating on them, putting them into practice and letting them take root in our soul.
then, instructed by the Spirit regarding what we should ask in Jesus’ name, let us ask, with all confidence, for those things that he himself desires.
finally, let us do the same things he did. He did not multiply good works, but completed that which his Father asked him to do, even when his obedience would seem to us a vain sacrifice.
I will ask the Father and He will give you another Helper (v. 16). Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit whom he calls the Paraclete. This Greek word has several meanings. Here we use Helper. The Spirit helps the believers and inspires their prayer so that it may be heard (Rom 8:26).
The Helper (or Interpreter) will teach you (v. 26). The Spirit enables us to understand and interpret Jesus’ words throughout all time.
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Comments by Wesley
1. One of the great fears of our day is that of Loneliness, of being orphaned. Here is a link to an article about Clark Moustakas' book Loneliness - It is difficult to be a "self impoverished and without holy joy." It is difficult to wait in the midst of our existential loneliness. Why aren't you here, now, Jesus? What is this waiting about?
2. Part of the Easter mystery is the business of not recognizing in the present what is already here. For whatever reason those near and dear to Jesus don't recognize him. It is as though a minor league player is brought up too soon and hasn't learned to recognize the rotation on the pitch as it leaves the hand and so is not ready to hit the ball squarely. The importance of the spiritual disciplines to practice seeing the presence of GOD cannot be overstated. Until then we live in a hope of someday seeing and living.
3. When we have moved beyond our fear of being orphaned and our need to see right now, we do find a unity beyond our wildest imagination. An experienced connection with all of creation and all of our self and all of our neighbor (friend and foe) dawns and we are able to be a comfort to others who are yet caught in their own orphanhood.
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