Seventh Sunday of Easter Reflection

My dear Friends:

Well, how are you all? I hope you are keeping up your spirits.

In the Sunday readings, we find the disciples in a similar situation to our own. They are in a kind of lockdown’ in the Upper Room – suspended between the Ascension of the Lord (last Thursday) and the Coming of the Holy Spirit, Pentecost, in a week’s time! They are spending their time in prayer, meditation...and possibly, a little fear and anxiety!

St. John’s gospel is movingly beautiful. It speaks about the ‘love’ of God and the ‘glory’ of God dwelling within each of us. When Jesus speaks about being ‘glorified’, it is not in the context of an ‘ego’ trip. It is the way in which we are transformed by His love, enabling us to achieve our full potential as God’s creations. I think Saint Irenaeus puts his fingers on the pulse of this ‘love’ and ‘glory’ when he wrote: The Glory of God is the person who is fully alive”!

I must confess, when I hear St. John’s gospel, my imagination sometimes runs riot! I envisage Jesus saying to a slightly confused, and perplexed, group of his followers…

I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me,
because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours
and everything of yours is mine,

and I have been glorified in them.
And now I will no longer be in the world,
but they are in the world, while I am coming to you

…And one of the brave followers apologetically responding…Eh, I didn’t quite get that. Would you run it by me again, please?

There is no doubt about it, Love, loving, and allowing ourselves to be loved, can be a transforming experience. I remember reading a comment by an elderly lady about her husband of many years: I saw through him on our first meeting – and loved him weaknesses, strengths and all! Jesus loves us into change, growth and transformation – if we can allow that amazing love into our hearts and lives.

As we shall see next week, the coming of the Holy Spirit, Pentecost, enabled the followers of Jesus to let go of fear, throw open the windows and doors which imprisoned them, and radiate the ‘glory’ and ‘love’ of God to the world. That Holy Spirit breathed new life into them. It is exactly the same for you and me. As you have heard me say so many times, we are like bamboo flutes, raised and kissed by the lips of God. Just like the first disciples, our lives, words and actions become the music of God. Our lives become living commentaries on the love and glory of God.  If I may remind you of a quote from last week: love is God’s house, and we live in that house!

I guess this period between the Ascension and Pentecost, for the first disciples, and possibly for us today, could be seen as a kind of Coming of Age! The Lord is with us, and within us. The challenge, I think, is to be aware of this amazing, healing, life-giving force dwelling within us and our lives. In one of Rumi’s ecstatic poems, he writes that one of the marvels of the world…is the sight of a soul sitting in prison with the key in its hand.

Remember me as loving you,

Fr. Antony

The parish is part of the Diocese of Portsmouth. Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust registered charity 246871.

© 2019• Immaculate Conception Church, Portswood, Southampton

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