- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

May 26, 2019

Fr. Justin Sheehan, OCSO

6th Sunday of Easter Time

In the passage just before this morning’s Gospel, Jesus is gathered with his disciples in the upper room, and he’s just finished saying that the person who loves him will be loved by his Father, and Jesus will love him and make himself plain to him. The apostle Jude wanted to know how come Jesus would make himself plain to the disciples but not to the world. Jesus replies, in effect, that a loveless world is a sightless world.

That’s where this morning’s Gospel begins: “Jesus said to his disciples”, meaning not only the apostles but all of us today in this church. He tells us, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him”. Not loving Jesus means not keeping his words. Worldly people will never understand Jesus until they carefully keep his word and come to love him, and then he will make himself plain to them.

In other words, for God to come to us and make his dwelling with us, we need to love him. The whole biblical tradition teaches this: knowledge of God is a personal relationship; it is intimacy; it is love. To those who love in that way, Jesus gives his most magnificent promise. He doesn’t speak only of the love which he obviously gives in return, so much so that one Trappist abbot, the Irishman Dom Eugene Boylan, could write a whole book entitled This Tremendous Lover, about God’s pursuit of the soul.

But Jesus goes even further than that in this morning’s Gospel. He speaks to the disciples about the Father’s love and of his wonderful gift: the Father and the Son will come to those who love, and will live in them as in their temple. Jesus promises to his disciples, in this life, a personal communion with God in the deepest mystery of his Trinitarian life. This profound communion surpasses all the hopes of the prophets, and all the dreams of humanity. It is the supreme revelation.

This profound communion makes the believer like the holy city Jerusalem, which we heard about in the second reading. There is no temple in the believer since the Lord God Almighty fills the believer with all the glorious presence of God. He is within us as someone we love and worship with all that we have and are, not just with our soul, or in limited times and places. The Source of all beauty is within those who love him.

Jesus tells us that the message we’re hearing isn’t his. It’s the message of the Father who sent him. Jesus reveals the mystery of the Holy Trinity to those who love him, but it remains inaccessible to those who refuse to love. They do not really know Jesus because they refuse his message, and those who do not believe his message cannot know the Father. This is where the apostle Jude gets the answer to his question: Jesus, in this world, is knowable only by faith; he will make himself plain only to believers.

Jesus goes on to say, “I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you.”. The earthly mission of Jesus is complete. He tells of his invisible return to the world, of his coming with the Father. He now announces the coming of the Spirit, and he tells us what the Spirit’s mission will be: he will be the interior Master who will prolong Jesus’ teaching and enable the disciples to say, as they do in the first reading, “It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us”.

Thus, all three Divine Persons are present to believers, in a communion which is as deep as our love. And Jesus who is closest to the Father’s heart, wishes also to be closest to our hearts, and therefore gives himself to us under the appearances of bread and wine.

Come to him, all you who labor and are burdened, and he will draw you into communion with the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In that communion is a peace that the world cannot give.