I will ask the Father, He will give you the spirit of truth
VI Sunday of Easter (John 14, 15-21)
“I will ask the Father,
and He will give you
to be with you forever – even the Spirit of truth”
The movement in this Gospel passage is very striking. This flow of Trinitarian Life, has been very marked in the readings since Easter.
I will ask the Father …
He will give you … the spirit of truth
To be with you forever
How many times has Jesus said “I and the Father are one “ and how many times has He emphasised that He has carried out the mission for which the Father had sent Him. His resurrection assurance is clear … “because I live, you will live also”.
Jesus’ relationship with his Father is very loving and closely bound up with His mission. Yes, He will ask the Father to send His Spirit to be with us forever and even though He asks, He is very confident that His request will be granted because “I and the Father are one”. That recognition of the Father’s place and at the same time Jesus’ identification with that same position, poses questions which require further reflection – not just for ourselves but for our world. This mysterious message stirs our desire and invites us to contemplation and discernment. We too are called to continue His mission. We will continually ask the Father so that His Spirit may be with us forever.
The Father is close, but also beyond and at the centre.
In this country, in the present crisis all of us over 70 are “cocooned” which means we have remained indoors for the past six weeks. The routine within each Community has changed. We appreciate that there is more time for prayer and reflection. There is a sense of solidarity among us and with many other people. We are grateful for the kindness of neighbours, carers, friends, whether they do our shopping or leave a “cadeau” at the door. We are encouraged to keep hope alive – when we join street music or turn on the lights showing appreciation for front line workers. Some sisters are making masks for workers whose work places them at high risk. These expressions of solidarity are evoked by the shared pandemic experience. But it is much more than that: it is the presence of the Spirit alive among us.
The Easter stories find Jesus frequently involved with gatherings and with food:
*At the Paschal Meal;
*On the lakeshore with His disciples;
*With the crowds when He multiplied the loaves and the fish
*On the way to Emmaus.
These gatherings are varied and significant- they are Eucharistic. The background in each story is simple with earth-based foods, nourishment that comes from the Earth. We know today of the desecration of the Earth and its consequences for so many people around the world. The disturbance of nature has impacted the tiniest organisms, as well as having decimated many species. Islands and islanders are drowning because of Climate change
We know too that there are thousands who cannot protect themselves from the corona virus because there isn’t an adequate water supply or because they are struggling to work in overcrowded markets. Their choice is between death by virus or death by poverty. The human reality is heart-breaking – where “good and evil are intermingled” (R.L. Art. 10). In being aware of these conditions we witness to the Risen Jesus and to Pentecost: awareness leads to action for justice.
We remind ourselves that the planet is part of the Kingdom. Humanity needs to recall that we humans are not at the centre, – instead we humbly recognise that the Creator Spirit is at the centre of creation and wants us to be part of “renewing the face of the earth”. Like Jesus we “will ask the Father” and pray that we can turn away from misguided notions of “conquer and control”, which are at the basis of the damage to our Earth. Already we see the Spirit is struggling to break through and new approaches are gaining ground.
We give thanks for Pope Francis’ invitation to believers of all religions to pray for suffering people all over the world (14th May). This inclusive gesture underpins the fact that we are all in this together, in our prayerful attention to suffering and grief.
Father Pernet’s prayer too, in 1889, echoes the sentiments of the disciples as they wait in hope – and perhaps with some anxiety – for the coming of the Spirit. His prayer reverberates in the hearts of many sick people at this time:
“Lord don’t forget us. We are waiting for you every day at every moment. Support us from morning until evening. Be our salvation in time of tribulation” (15th December 1889).
The assuring words of Jesus remain with us
“I will not leave you desolate, I will come to you”.
United in the Spirit “who frees our hearts and gives us joy”
Nellie Curtin Little Sister od the Assumption-Dublin- Ireland