SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
We are well acquainted with homelessness. We have seen the homeless of our own cities. Through television and newspapers, we have seen the shanty-towns of the world and have seen the thousands of displaced persons trudging along dusty paths, carrying their children and burdened by their meager possessions. Thousands and thousands of people throughout the world have no home of their own. They are forced to wander and beg and scratch the earth to survive. Yet, they are surrounded by enormous wealth and power.
But, there is another kind of homelessness. There is a homelessness of the mind. And we wealthier nations may be more prone to it than others. There is a starvation of the spirit and soul. As a consequence, millions in the world today are uprooted and displaced. They fill up the vacuum of their lives with restlessness and activity. But many are starving. Homelessness means that we have nowhere to be at rest, nowhere to be secure. Many people today, live with a homelessness of the mind. Jesus came to give us a home.
‘Not belonging’ is the unspoken pain of this Sunday’s gospel reading. Jesus, in speaking to the disciples, his intimate friends, is touching on their deep human need to belong, to be part of a community of those who know where they are going, part of a community of believers who are deeply rooted in life. Last Sunday, Jesus said, “I am going to prepare a home for you.” This Sunday, speaking of himself and the Father, through the Holy Spirit, he says, “We will make our home with you.”
The disciples had said, “Show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” They had said, “Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” “Will you reveal yourself to us and not to the world?” For the disciples, home meant being with the one who made them feel most at home. Peter had said, “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the message of eternal life.” Jesus was the one for whom they had left everything behind just to be with him. To be with him was to know the strongest and truest place they had ever experienced; a fortress of sanity and life in a dark and decidedly dangerous world. Despite everything that had happened along the way, everything they knew would happen to him, and maybe even everything they knew was going to happen to them as well, home was where Jesus was. It was where they felt most fully themselves. Jesus was life for them.
On this night before he was crucified, Jesus was telling them that nothing was going to change. He was not going to leave them orphaned. He was going to remain with them. He says to them, “In a little while, the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also.” He says to them, “Those 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.”
Home, he tells them, ‘is where people do what I do, and are what I am. Do that and you will be where I am, and where God is.’ “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” Church, the sacraments, and prayer are moments when we consciously experience and celebrate Christ’s presence among us. From them, we carry the consciousness of Christ’s presence into our day-to-day lives. Christ is with us “when we do the things of Christ.” He is with us when our lives are directed towards “doing the things of Christ.” His “commands” give us a home to belong to. It is not a home far away in the skies, or in another world or life. When “we do the things of Christ,” the Father will love us, and Father, Son and Holy Spirit will make their home with us in our life and in our world.
# Clipart: Courtesy of – ‘Hermano Leon Clipart’ (Hemanoleon Clipart).