HELP IS ON THE WAY!
I love that line. There is hope if we are not in this by ourselves. God has an investment in the outcome. Human beings are resourced with a part of the Creator himself. He gave it to the Risen Son… to give to us. John’s Gospel calls it an, an Advocate, a Paraclete,” a Holy Spirit to counter-act all the less than holy ones that seem to have such hold on our lives. The recent politics and slants of the 24 Hour news services scare me. But or faith says we have what we need – a great love bigger than our nastiness to one another.
Recently at a friend’s wedding reception, I was surprised and relieved to learn that there would be no clinking of goblets to solicit a kiss between the newly weds. Instead each table had to take a turn singing a song that contained the word “love.” Only then would the bride and groom show a little affection to each other. So throughout the dinner hour, each table competed with each other with lyrics and tunes that spoke of love. One could not but wonder at the sheer number of songs and commercial jingles that fit the bill. Between the “Top 40” and the Hallmark shop, you don’t have to look far for warm expressions of affection. Love makes the world go round…especially in this season of spring when the desert weather begins to warm up. The Gospel of Jesus gives it a different twist!
As the Easter season begins to wane, John the Evangelist reminds us of the command to love one another… It proposes a love that goes way beyond mere sentimentality to make enormous demands on us. To be a disciple means that we remain united in the love bestowed on us by the Risen Lord. When we love one another, we reaffirm our friendship with Jesus and with his Father. And we become a part of a unity, an incredible connection of love that does indeed make the world go round. In fact…It started the world spinning in the first place.
IT’S COMPLICATED…Yet very simple say John’s Gospel. “…I am in the Father, and you in me and I in you…the one who loves me will be loved by my Father and I too will love him and reveal myself to him.” The weekend’s first reading picks up after Stephen is stoned in Jerusalem — the first of the inner circle to be martyred. As many disciples are scattered from Jerusalem, Philip finds himself in Samaria. Instead of seeking shelter and protection, we are told he “proclaimed the Christ to them” thereby sharing the joy of the good news at every opportunity.
In the First Letter of Peter, the author urges the community to “always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.” Isn’t that a wonderful challenge? It was the audacious message of the first followers of Jesus. Despite challenges, persecutions and transitions, even like the one in our country these days, the message goes out. Bearing with a difficult co-worker or cranky child, or great traumas like the death of a spouse, mental illness, or powerful addiction, we can hold on to Jesus’ promise, “I will not leave you orphans.” The advocate who remains with holds us close as we embrace whatever life throws. We now are the chosen ones who must proclaim the Christ to a world still so desperately in need of mercy and love. All that is required… is the explanation for our hope!
A gentle week,
Fr. Michael Weldon, OFM