May 25, 2014 - 6th Sunday of Easter, Year A
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
One of our greatest human fears is the fear of being abandoned or ignored. Monophobia is the fear of being alone, abandoned, rejected, left behind.
Like the child who is alone in this world bounced from foster home to foster home because mom has chosen crack cocaine over the loving embrace of a child.
Or the young girl who hasn’t yet blossomed into a woman and is still a bit of an ugly duckling and faces teasing and ridicule every day.
Or the teenage boy who prefers music over football and is bullied by his peers.
Or the single woman who wonders if she will ever find the right man to marry.
Or the widower who is lost in this world without his wife who took care of him for so many years.
We may grow up, but we never outgrow the need for attention, for care, for compassion, for feeling recognized, for feeling like we belong somewhere, for feeling loved.
Today Jesus says how much he loves you, how much he loves us: I will not leave you orphans.
In our Sacred Scriptures, Jesus assures us that we will not be left alone, that we will not be left behind.
If you love me I will ask the Father and he will give you the Spirit and the Spirit will remain with you.
We are not left orphans. Neither were the disciples after Jesus’ ascension into heaven.
Jesus had been with them for so long. He had done so much for them.
Every time they were hungry, there had been food. Every time they were thirsty, there had been wine. Every time they were sick, he had healed them. Every time they were in debt, he had bailed them out. Every time they were in trouble, he was right there by their sides.
True, he had been sending them out, but they had always been able to come back, to sit down at his feet, to listen to his counsel, to be with him.
Then he said to them: In a little while I will be with you no longer, in a little while you will be alone, in a little while you will have to be independent.
He saw their frightened faces and the growing despair in their eyes. But I won’t leave you orphans. Another helper will be given to you, a helper who will work from within you: the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is with us. We are not left orphans. God’s faithful and loving presence in us is a fact, a reality.
We call down the Holy Spirit each time we celebrate mass: Let your Spirit come upon these gifts of bread and wine so that they may become for us the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It’s easy for us to recognize the working of the Holy Spirit here in this place, but it takes some effort to recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit within us.
Jesus tells us the Holy Spirit is our helper. How does the Holy Spirit help us?
The Holy Spirit dwells in each of us. Because we receive Jesus’ Body and Blood in this Eucharist, we are temples of the Lord God where God’s Spirit dwells.
The Holy Spirit, dwelling in us, transforms us from the inside out. Some have remarkable transformations, others are refashioned slowly over their whole lives.
As we are transformed, we come to recognize our beauty and giftedness and are able to bring those gifts to the church.
And by bringing them to the church, sharing them with the people of God, we also give them to the Lord.
We are not alone. We enjoy the presence, the blessing, the indwelling of God today and everyday.
When God’s helping hand is offered through the power and working of the Holy Spirit, it is up to us to take it. And God’s helping hand is offered to each and every one of us.
We are not left orphans. All we have to do is reach out and take God’s hand and we will be saved.