Faith, Fellowship and Fun

May 17 Sixth Sunday of Easter, John 14:15-21, pdf version here
John 14:15 Jesus said: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. 17 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.

John 14:18 “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. 19 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”
INITIAL OBSERVATIONS
This mysteriously inviting passage is the fruit of prayer, contemplation and discernment. As such, it eludes analysis; rather it invites a comparison with our own experience and stirs our own desire.

KIND OF WRITING
This is identifiable as belonging to the genre of Last Will and Testament. As often noted, in the OT and sometimes in the NT, the last speech of the main protagonist can be very important. A number of the typical themes can be found here:
How will the followers manage after the master has left?
Will he be present in another way?
How should the followers behave in a practical way?

In some ways, the answer to all three problems is the same: the Spirit will keep the spirit of Jesus alive and they will know this by their love; such love will keep them in the communion with the Father and with Jesus himself.

Thought for the day
“The greatest things you’ll ever learn is to love and be loved in return.” The following words, attributed to Pedro Arrupe SJ, may up lift and inspire. “Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love, in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evening, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love and it will decide everything.”

KIERAN O’MAHONY OSA - www.tarsus.ie
SCRIPTURE PRAYERS

Lord, forgive us for always wanting to see things:
we have become so dependent on external stimuli;
we must be listening to the radio or the television;
we need to hear sermons or read books.
Teach us to quieten ourselves so that we may listen to our inner rhythms:
the memories we have, both painful and happy;
the deep longings of our hearts;
the instincts of our nature.
Remind us that Jesus prayed for us that you would make your presence known to us within the truth of ourselves.

Lord, we thank you for those wonderful moments of grace when we knew that our lives were sacred.
We had read the story of Jesus, but it was the story of someone else.,
the story of the saints, of extraordinary people.
Then we experienced that we too are living Jesus lives, and we are your presence in the world.

MICHEL DE VERTEUIL - Lectio Divina on the Sunday Gospels
POINTERS FOR PRAYER
1. “If you love me you will keep my commandments”, and specifically the commandment to love one another (cf. 13.34). How have you experienced the link between love of God and love of those around you?

2. Jesus is preparing his disciples for his imminent departure and for a future in which he would be with them in a different way. He would not ‘leave them orphans’ but send an ‘Advocate’ to ‘be with (them) for ever’. How have you experienced the presence of God with you in your life?

3. Perhaps you have also experienced the challenge of preparing another (a child, a friend) for a time when you would no longer be physically together. Recall how you gave the message of your ongoing support.

4. How have you experienced the presence and support of a loved one (parent, spouse, friend) when circumstances have separated you from them?

5. The proof of the ongoing presence of Jesus with his disciples is that “I live and you will live”. Discipleship is about much more than rules and regulations. It is about being alive. How has discipleship helped you to be more fully alive?

JOHN BYRNE OSA - Intercom
For most people, Jesus will have passed through this world as if nothing had taken place. He will leave no vestige in their lives. They will need new eyes. Only those who love him will be able to experience Jesus as alive and life-giving.

Jesus is the only person who deserves to be loved unconditionally. Whoever loves him in this way cannot think of him as someone belonging to the past. His life is not just a memory. Whoever loves Jesus remembers his teachings, obeys his commandments and keeps assimilating the life of Jesus.

It is not easy got speak of this experience. The evangelist calls it the Spirit of truth. This is true because Jesus becomes a force and a light that makes us live in the truth. To accept Jesus in our lives leads to the truth, no matter in what situation we may find ourselves in life.

We must not confuse this “Spirit of truth” with any doctrine. It is not to be found in the studies of theologians and not in official documents of church teachings. According to the promise of Jesus,”he lives in us and is in us”. We listen to Jesus in our hearts, and he shines in the lives of those who follow his footsteps, with humility, confidence and faith.

Perhaps the conversion we Christians are most in need of today is to move from a verbal, routine and unreal attachment to Jesus to an experience of a life rooted in the “Spirit of truth”.

JOSÉ A PAGOLA - Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus
The whole thrust of what Jesus is saying about the Spirit can be summed up by his statement: “because I live and you will live”. The life of the risen Jesus made present through the Spirit empowers the disciples to be people of love. It is clear once again that, for the evangelist, following Jesus cannot be thought of merely in terms of keeping rules and regulations. The believer is in communion with Jesus and the Father through the work of the Spirit. These verses do not make for easy reading because of the apparently repetitive style but they provide rich fare for quiet prayer and in preparation for Pentecost as we invite the Holy Spirit to enlighten our minds with true understanding.

SEAN GOAN - Let the Reader Understand