26 May 2011

'I will love him and reveal myself to him'. Sixth Sunday of Easter Year A, 29 May 2011

The Last Supper, El Greco, c.1568

Readings (New American Bible, used in the Philippines and USA)

GOSPEL, John 14:15-21 (NAB)

Jesus said to his disciples:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
And I will ask the Father,
and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always,
the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept,
because it neither sees nor knows him.
But you know him, because he remains with you,
and will be in you.
I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
In a little while the world will no longer see me,
but you will see me, because I live and you will live.
On that day you will realize that I am in my Father
and you are in me and I in you.
Whoever has my commandments and observes them
is the one who loves me.
And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”

AN SOISCÉAL Eoin 14:15-21 (Irish)

San am sin dúirt Íosa lena dheisceabail

'Má tá grá agaibh dom, coinneoidh sibh m’aitheanta.
Agus iarrfaidh mé ar m’Athair é,
agus tabharfaidh sé Abhcóide eile daoibh
chun fanacht faraibh go deo –
Spiorad na Fírinne,
nach féidir don saol a ghlacadh,
mar ní fheiceann sé é ná ní aithníonn sé é.
Ach aithníonn sibhse é
mar fanann sé faraibh, agus beidh sé ionaibh.
Ní fhágfaidh mé in bhur ndílleachtaí sibh;
tiocfaidh mé ar ais chugaibh. Tamall beag eile agus siúd é an saol
agus gan radharc aige ormsa feasta;
ach tá radharc agaibhse orm,
óir táimse beo agus beidh sibhse beo chomh maith.
An lá sin aithneoidh sibh go bhfuilimse i m’Athair,
agus go bhfuil sibhse ionamsa, agus mise ionaibh.
An té a bhfuil m’aitheantasa aige agus a choinníonn iad,
sin é an té a bhfuil grá aige dom.
An té a bhfuil grá aige dom,
beidh grá ag m’Athair dó,
agus beidh grá agam dó,
agus taispeánfaidh mé mé féin dó.'

Over the years I have met many young people who have been orphaned or who, for one serious reason or another, cannot enjoy a normal loving and safe family life. I have had young children from backgrounds like that tell me that they want me to be their father. That isn't possible in the usual sense but I amcalled to be a father in a very real way. I can be a father-figure, or grandfather-figure, to young people I know who don'at have a father.

But at a deeper level I am called as a priest to take proper care of those entrusted to me by the Church. I am called to point people towards our Lord Jesus Christ who in today's gospel speaks to us of God's desire to have an intimate relationship with us. Jesus is promising to send u the Holy Spirit who will draw us to the Father, who will bring us into the intimacy of the life of the Holy Trinity dwelling within us.

This can be difficult to grasp and can seem abstract but the evidence of the lives of those whom the Church formally recognises as holy is evidence of the joy that only god can give us and that he wanst each of us to have.

Today's gospel is taken from the words of Jesus at the Last Supper, the night before he died, in which he speaks to us of joy. This isn't something shallow but is in the depth of our souls, even when the surface isn't calm.

Jesus doesn't want us to be orphans. He wants each of us to come to know God as our loving Father. He wants our lives to be filled with joy so that they radiate with the truth that Jesus is truly risen, a joy that is evident in the Resurrection song below in a mall in Beirut.

Jesus is Risen
In a Beirut shopping Mall, Easter 2011

Thanks to Fr Tim Finigan for drawing this to my attention on his blog.

Most Catholics are unaware that many Arabs are Christians and have been so since the time of the Apostles, long before Islam came on the scene in the early part of the 7th century. Christian Arabs have suffered greatly in recent years in the Middle East and many have left the region. Performances such as that in the video above are called 'flash mobs'. I think it is a wonderfully joyful proclamation of the Resurrection in the marketplace, which the mall is in cities now throughout the world, in a country that has known much conflict in recent decades.

Below is a proclamation of the Resurrection in Arabic from the Byzantine Rite, produced in Canada by Catholics of the Melkite Rite and Orthodox Christians of the same rite.

Remember in your prayers all Christians living in the Middle East, most of whom are Arabs, that God's peace may reign in their hearts and in the hearts of Muslims and Jews living there for whom that part of the world is holy, as it is for us Christians.

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