May 1, 2016
Jesus said to his disciples: “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 my Father who sent me.
“I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, 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 troubles 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 if happens, so that when it happens you may believe.” -John 14:23-29
At mass today, the priest preached on how the Holy Spirit takes Jesus out of his time and place and brings him into our time and our place. Reading about the days leading up to the Ascension and Pentecost, I can’t help but feel the anxiety that must have been gnawing at the disciples. Their beloved teacher had died and risen in three days. Would his return after this other departure be as prompt? How would they do what had to be done without him there? Who would be in charge? What would become of them?
Only in our privilege of knowing the whole story can we begin to imagine how much the Ascension is a fulfillment of His saving work. When Jesus turned the bread and wine into His body and blood, he made it so that where He is, we also shall be. The disciples had in them the Jesus that was beat and crucified. His body and blood, soul and divinity lived in them when He descended to the dead. He was in them when He resurrected. Their lives were inextricable from His because of His gift of Himself. And now His life would be once again in union with the Father. The life He gave to His disciples would now be in its fullest glory in paradise eternal.
We are not now in Paradise. We are not in Jesus’ time and place. We are stuck in space and time and fleshiness for now. But His flesh and blood that we consume, by the power of the Holy Spirit, brings Jesus as He is at the right hand God the Father to us here and now. He penetrates the mess of earthly life to live with us, His heart beating with each of ours. The Holy Spirit, the very love that flows between the Father and the Son, animates us and reminds us that He is with us always.
Trusting in this awesome truth, let us close with Sabbath day with praise and thanksgiving. Let us ask for the companionship of the Holy Spirit so that we can echo Blessed Henry Suso: “My heart can then meditate devoutly, my tongue speak eloquently, my body accomplish every task easily, and anyone who asks for my advice obtains lofty counsel. I then feel as if, transported beyond the barriers of time and space, I were standing in the vestibule of everlasting bliss.”