May 9, 2010
Sixth Sunday of Easter
Jesus answered and said to him, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me. I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name -- he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe.”
Introductory Prayer: Lord, as I begin this prayer I offer you my whole self: my thoughts, desires, decisions, actions, hopes, fears, weaknesses, failures and petty successes. I open my entire being to you, aware that you know everything already. I’m certain of your mercy and of the purifying power of your penetrating, loving gaze.
Petition: May the Blessed Trinity dwell in me.
1. A Cold, Stony Heart
We have no writings of Our Lord. The only time we see Our Lord writing, he was bent over writing something in the sand with his finger. However, as his finger traced in the sand (see John 8:6), it was also etching into the hardened hearts of the surrounding crowd. They dropped the stones with which they intended to kill the adulterous woman. It is curious how these stones also symbolized the hardness of their hearts. They dropped them because their hearts had also softened. In the Old Testament we see Moses coming down from the mountain with a stone tablet that contained the written law of God, the Ten Commandants. Christ came to crush our stony hearts and to write his law of love there. Christ wants us to give him a blank slate so that he can write whatever he wants in our hearts.
2. Christ’s Reassurance
It is scary when we learn that a loved one will be leaving us for an undetermined amount of time. We can think of the soldiers who go off to war and how hard it must be for their spouses and children to deal with the loneliness and uncertainties that naturally arise. Yet the good soldier assures them he will return, and he is confident that they will be strong and live upright lives. How hard it must have been for the apostles when Christ told them he would be leaving them. They had left everything to follow him, and now it seemed as if they would be alone. Christ knew how heavy their hearts were, so he assured the apostles that he needed to leave in order that he and the Father could send the Holy Spirit into their hearts. The Holy Spirit enlightens our hearts too, as he enlightened the hearts of the apostles.
3. A Sad Homecoming?
Christ is the Prince of Peace. He sought to uplift the apostles, who were dragged down by sadness and fear at being left alone in the world. Christ tells them, and he tells us, that they should rejoice because he is going home. Christ wants us to rejoice not only because he is going home to the Father, but also because if we keep his word, he and the Father will make their dwelling in us. Their abode will be in our hearts. He wants us to trust the Holy Spirit who will give us the clarity of thought and the strength to live Christ’s teachings coherently. How open am I to the promptings of the Holy Spirit within my soul? What keeps me from perceiving Him within me? Do I need to be more detached from the goods of this life so my friendship with my Lord and Creator can grow?
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, I want to trust in your word -- in the working of the Holy Spirit in my heart. Help me to let go of the anxieties that at times paralyze my thoughts and actions. I open my heart so that you, the Blessed Trinity, can dwell within me. This gives me supernatural joy, a joy that the world cannot give or take away.
Resolution: I will look to comfort someone who is lonely, helping him or her to know that the Lord is always with us.
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