6th Sunday of Easter ~ 22 May 2022 ~ Bible Readings for Mass: I: Acts 15: 1-2, 22 -29. Responsorial: Psalm 67. II: Revelation 21: 10 -14, 22-23. Gospel: John 14: 23-29
Gravity is a force of nature that will not be ignored. Water flows… downhill. Trees fall … down. We fall … down. Gravity is a reality and force of this world that we all deal with every day. And the older one gets the more the force of gravity would appear to prevail. We are so caught up in this natural force that we can be unaware of another dimension of gravity. The gravity of soul and spirit is a worldly force that continually battles against who we are called to be. This force was evidently unleashed with the first fall of humanity into sin. Since then the struggle to realize and be the people God created and redeemed us to be has challenged us. This struggle, however severe does not in any way lessen or deny the eternal Truth. We are called by Him who conquered sin, death… our fallen state to rise.
The spiritual forces of gravity continually seek to press and oppress us away from God and heavenly truths. These dark forces would seek to bring our spiritual seeing to focus on the conflicts, fears, and turmoil of this world. If we seek to focus on God and the Kingdom of Heaven we are often distracted by others who focus upon the sins and failings they judge in others. Or we seek to build our faith and vision of God in frameworks of political causes, no matter that they may well clash, and conflict with others in the Body of Christ. Or we may dwell upon very real and painful illnesses or needs that would seek to cloud our ability to see the Truth of God. And these very real forces cannot be ignored. The path of life is fraught with many dangers. To travel naively along thinking nothing can hurt me is foolishness with profound risk. I am reminded of hiking the trails here in California. The views can be beautiful. But to ignore the hazards can be very painful, or worse. We must pay attention to what is in our path!
But, in spite of very real hazards, we cannot forget that we are called to rise. The light from Scripture for this 6th Sunday of Easter shows us how God empowers us to do just that.
The first reading from the Acts of the Apostles shares how the church was struggling. The Gentile believers were being burdened by those who sought to impose many complex requirements from the Mosaic Law. In our present time liturgical excesses and strife, scrupulosity of worship, or focus on complex issues can weigh the soul and bring peril to our walk with God. The needs and issues in our world and church are very real and legitimate. But we need to learn from the early church and seek the Holy Spirit to form our decisions in the simplicity of the Gospel and not the complexities of our understandings.
We also are encouraged from our second reading in the Book of Revelation. “The angel took me in the spirit…” so we read of the Apostle John’s celestial experiences. Now clearly we are not in the same place as John. But in much humbler but just as blessed ways God’s angels will lead us to those high mountains to which God would call us to climb, again, in the power of the Holy Spirit promised by Jesus in our Gospel.
It is especially in the Gospel that we see Jesus. As He speaks to His disciples in that Upper Room He would speak to us, today. As the disciples lived in a world of powerful intense spiritual oppression and gravity so do we. Sins of greed, political deceptions and agendas, violence, prejudice, sexual promiscuity, abortion, and much more pressed upon the souls of the faithful then. And as they do now. Great were the forces that sought to turn the eyes of the faithful away from Christ and from the simplicity of His command. The call to rise above the morass and muck of the world and to love one another was how God countered the lies of the spiritual gravity that sought to work like spiritual quicksand. Jesus called His followers to not burden each other with the mire of this world but to walk with and support each other in this journey of faith. It is in the Presence of the Holy Spirit, it is in the Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist we grow out of our failings into His fullness. As we contemplate those who gathered with Christ at the first Eucharist we see a group of disciples oppressed with fear, burdened with ignorance of His Truth. Yet…Jesus washed their feet, gave them His Body and Blood, as unworthy as they might be. He still called them to rise.