20 May 2017


acts 8:5-8, 14-17; 1 peter 3:15-18; john 14:15-21

home alone. the real life experience, not the movie, of several people. here’s just one story: 
i am sixteen. a year ago, i lost the most important person in my life, my grandmother. she was my world, and suddenly she was gone. i was alone. i cried for days, cursing GOD, her, and even myself for her death. i had no idea how to get through my freshman year of high school, but somehow i did. now i remember her and do what i know she would want me to do… help people.

alone. on their own. that’s perhaps the way the apostles felt during the last supper.
jesus, the most important person in their lives, has repeatedly told them about his death. the apostles cannot understand this talk of death and going away. 
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… whoever loves me will be loved by my father, and i will love him and reveal myself to him.»
a promise and a reminder! the promise of the eternal comforting, abiding, and advocating presence of the spirit. the reminder that they will experience the full presence of the spirit when they love… because the spirit is love.

we see the promise and the reminder unfold in the first reading: with the power of the spirit and with love, the disciples go out to proclaim christ to the people of samaria. like the sixteen year-old, when they reach out, they are alone no longer.

we, too, have been given this gift of the spirit. why do we still feel lonely and troubled? perhaps because we have forgotten the reminder. 
am i open to the comforting and guiding presence of the spirit? do i keep the commandment of love? then… i will not be alone. i will not feel «orphaned».