Sixth Sunday of Easter-A
I will never leave you, the promise given to the Lord’s disciples. This passage from the apostle John is part of Jesus’ famous farewell discourse. In the context of the fourth Gospel, it is a discourse of utmost importance. Indeed, John does not record what we commonly call the Last Supper, when Jesus took bread and wine, blessed it, and gave it to his disciples, assuring them that it is no longer earthly substances but is his body and blood.
“Take this; it is my body.”
“Drink this; it is my blood.”
Matthew, Mark, and Luke all report the famous meal. The meal from which future generations are intimately connected with Jesus Christ. Even Paul, not present at the Passover supper, records what happened that night before Jesus died. Paul, too, tells us of the Lord’s command to continue the meal. “Do this in remembrance of me.”
Matthew, Mark, Luke, Paul. In all of them, Jesus promises his continued presence in the lives of the believers through the Eucharistic meal.
“This is my body” means I am still with you.
“This is my blood,” infers I have not left you.
But John the Evangelist doesn’t mention specifically this special meal. There was, of course, a gathering before he died, and it was here that Jesus offered his farewell, but not with bread and wine. No doubt, Jesus promised his continued presence among them.
“I will not leave you orphans.” “I will ask the Father, and he will send you another Advocate to be with you always.” To be with you always. God’s love, once bestowed, is never annulled. It is a continual presence in one’s life.
Once touched by Divine Love, we are never the same.
Once touched by Divine Love, it remains with us for the rest of our lives.
Once touched by Divine Love, it becomes an eternal companion.
There are, of course, times when it is questioned and doubted. “The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept.” Too many times when it is unheeded and unappreciated “because it neither sees nor knows him.” Often not recognized, “in a little while, the world will no longer see.” Regardless, the promise of divine love and presence is never revoked.
The message of Jesus to be with us always is the simple message of the Eucharist. I may appear apart, but his presence in (and through the) Spirit is so close. I may appear to be gone, but his presence in Spirit is nearer than you can imagine. I may seem invisible, but his presence in Spirit is hidden.
“You know him because he remains with you and will be in you.”
“I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”
“You are in me, and I am in you.”
Today is also Mother’s Day. In healthy mother-child relationships, there is an inkling of this divine connection because our faith is sacramental. God’s love and presence come to us visibly and in concrete ways, through flesh and blood, among the people God has placed in our lives. And as this Divine Love is mirrored in so many ways through a mother’s love and presence, epitomizing the visible expression of Divine and Eternal love.
“You are in me, and I am in you.”
Similarly, once touched by a mother’s love, we are never the same. Once touched by a mother’s love, she remains with us for the rest of our lives. Once touched by a mother’s love, she is our eternal companion.
You know her because she remains with you and will be in you. We carry her with us everywhere we go – to everyone we meet, with everyone we journey with, to everyone we help – we have her with us everywhere we go.
There within us.
There beside our other Advocate, the Spirit of truth.