[Mass Readings: I; Acts 1:12-14; Responsorial: Psalm 27; II: I Peter 4:13-16; Gospel: John 17:1-11a]
This 7th Sunday of Easter we come to the last week of Easter season, 2020. Last Thursday was the glorious celebration of the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, the celebration of His celestial homecoming back to the Love of the Father and the embrace of the Holy Spirit. With that momentous event the souls and spirits of the followers of Jesus were lifted heavenward.
And so it needs be for us this Sunday of 2020. We have spent most of this year thus far navigating the Covid virus, social-economic chaos and leadership often at odds with each other as many uncertainties and threats are confronted. It is sadly and especially evident in the swamps of politics that all these threats to assumed places of power and control have brought about claims, assertions and professed worldly expertise in abundance. Again it shows us how much we need to lift our lives heavenward as we navigate these uncertainties but especially as we seek a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit. In deed we are followers of Jesus in an earthly journey amongst many problems, perils and blessings of this world. We must heed, respect and navigate all these worldly realities. Yet we must, as our crucified and risen Lord did, always keep our focus heavenward.
Our Gospel this Sunday comes from the intimate conversation Jesus shared with His disciples in the upper room just before His Passion. This 17th chapter of John is the closing prayer of Jesus with, and for, ALL of His followers. This includes the Apostles, what would eventually be called the clergy but and especially ALL those who would believe in Him, His Body, the Church. Jesus has prayed that His followers may be one, as He and the Father are one, again embracing the entirety of His people, His Body, the people of God. Christ, in this portion prays that His faithful may always realize the gift of eternal life. He asks that His Father, His name be glorified as we follow in His way of redemptive love. He affirms we are in this world, but we are not of this world we belong to God. We are to live for God, eternally.
This message is vital as we anticipate the Feast of Pentecost next Sunday. We are to seek… to be filled, baptized, immersed in the Comforter come from Heaven. We are to be a people empowered and following first and foremost the wisdom and will of the Father in our lives and in His Church.
This message is also very much needed as we continue to journey through the challenges of the Covid sagas. I have read with joy that sooner than earlier expected churches may soon be unlocked. Masses may soon be allowed. But, wisely and of course, this is to be done within the dictates of the medical community. But as those dictates, that guidance is received and applied there seems the ongoing diversity of how, to what extent, in what ways all this is to be applied. In the many winds and squalls of this worldly storm of expertise we need to pay close heed to Whom we are following.
We must use all prudence, care and concern for the care, the well-being of each other, our families and ourselves. This means we must heed, with common sense and God’s wisdom, the guidance of the “experts”. But it is wise to remember that worldly expertise on these matters, on all matters is very subjective and transitory. Medicine, science, while true and great gifts and graces from God are disciplines of…change and growth. They are not and never have been meant as…gods. Yet it is sadly evident as we listen to the news, politicians, even some in the church, that the gospel of human reason and alleged scientific evidence is the gospel to be heeded. Our health, our well being can never be found in medical expertise or scientific reason alone. We are, if we believe the message of Jesus in the Gospel today, are created and redeemed for God, for eternity.
As we approach the Feast of Pentecost may we each, and together, seek the Promise of God the Father, given through His Son Jesus, the immersing into the Presence, Wisdom and Power of God for our lives, our Church for these times and eternity. May we allow the Spirit of God to walk in an holy balance of powerful faith and respect for those things of the Caesers of this world. May we remember and practice the promise: “God has not given us a Spirit of fear but of power, love and of disciplined minds.” [II Tim. 1:7]