VI SUNDAY OF EASTER
acts 8:5-8, 14-17; 1 peter 3:15-18; john 14: 15-21
richard daly, the mayor of chicago for 21 years, was an unpleasant boss. one of his speech writers once asked for a raise. daly responded: «no raise for you. working for a great american hero like me is remuneration enough.»
two weeks later, daly was addressing a national war-veterans’ convention (he was famous for not reading through his speeches before delivery). he began: «i’m concerned for you. i have a heart for you. i propose a seventeen-point plan… to care for the veterans of this country.» cheers and shout of approval from the veterans!
the end of page one! he turned the page. and he saw these words: «great american hero, you’re on your own now.»
daly felt really alone. he was on his own.
that’s perhaps the way the apostles felt during the last supper. alone. on their own.
JESUS has told them about his death and departure. the apostles are confused. they don’t understand this talk of death and going away. they are afraid they will meet a similar fate.
JESUS promises them his SPIRIT to comfort and lead them: «the father... will give you another advocate to be with you always... i will not leave you orphans.»
and he reminds them: «if you love me, you will keep my commandments… and those who love me will be loved by my father, and i will love them and reveal myself to them.»
a promise and a reminder! the promise of the eternal comforting and advocating presence of the SPIRIT. the reminder that they will experience GOD’s love when they love.
we see the promise and the reminder unfold the first reading: with the power of the SPIRIT and with love, the disciples go out to proclaim CHRIST to the people of samaria.
we, too, have been given this gift of the SPIRIT. then why do we still feel lonely and troubled? perhaps because we have forgotten the reminder!
do i keep the commandment of love? am i open to the comforting and guiding presence of the SPIRIT? then… i will not be alone. i will not feel «orphaned».