Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year C, 22 May, 2022: Acts 15:1-2, 22-29; Revelation 21:10-24, 22-23; John 14: 23-29
This brief passage from John’s Gospel is densely packed. Jesus speaks of his departing and returning; he also refers to the apostles’ sense of loss but that they should be glad for him. He tells them to keep his word out of love for him; and finally, that the Father will send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, in Jesus’ name.
It must be significant that Jesus asks us to keep his word, not because he commands it or because his word is good for us but because we love him. Keeping his word is not just our end of the bargain but the expression of our love, returning his love, remaining in relationship with him, whether he is with us or not.
If we remain this relationship with him, in what sense does he leave us? Why do we continue to celebrate the Ascension or pray, “Come Holy Spirit” if these are past events? Or does the liturgy present them to us anew?
Should I say that I could dismiss Christ by my sin or block the Spirit by my unresponsiveness? That may sound humble but it could also be arrogant, claiming that I’m ultimately in control and it’s all about me. To be able to say that Jesus departs and returns or that we await the coming of the Spirit, is to affirm God’s sovereignty, far beyond my control—and to confess God’s enormous, unmerited love reaching out to us.
Let me point to the rhythm of the liturgy which demonstrates that all time is sacred, but some times are more sacred than others. That God is always present but in drawing us ever closer, at some times, God is closer than other times. It’s a question of relationship, isn’t it? And a relationship is not static but grows or regresses. Couldn’t there always be more?