Making a home with God

22 May 2022 6th Sunday Easter Year C 2022

We are still in the Easter season celebrating a new creation. John’s gospel takes us back before the Easter event as we hear another part of the farewell spoken by Jesus before his death. 

He seeks to give His disciples hope in the face of what is to come. Of course, they don’t know what’s coming, but at this moment He says to them that if they love Him, they will keep His word and ‘My Father’ will make their home with them.

It’s quite breathtaking, revealing to us an intimacy we’re unexpectedly invited to share in. And that home is being made whenever we are present to one another, not using one another, or fantasising about one another, but are able to be with each other.

Then Jesus speaks out of this love when he says that the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, who the Father will send in his name, will reveal everything, deepening our understanding of what has been said to us. And more, he continues to reveal the great generosity of God and gives his peace to us, a peace quite unlike what the world offers.

The emphasis isn’t on stopping hostilities which is what we understand peace to mean in international affairs, or closer to home, or a peace of mind which brings with it the ‘power of inner peace’, crucial and helpful as they might be at moments, but on a person, on Jesus Christ, on one another: it is centred on relationship.

As we learn to love one another, to be with each other, through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus and the Father come to be with us, to live in us. And the peace this love brings is not a DIY peace, but a gift to be received. We can’t simply will it into being, or program it, we have to learn to receive it. That’s the part we find difficult. Letting go of our old, comforting habits.

Often, we prefer to hold tight to what we know because letting go seems risky. But that’s what Jesus is speaking of; trusting in God’s love, this peace, as revealed in him and made real in our lives by the Holy Spirit. This is the intimacy we’re invited to share in, where ‘on the far side of my letting go is myself in God’.

It’s the vision revealed to us in the second reading from the Apocalypse where ‘the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb were themselves the Temple’ and we live in them, opening our hearts in praise, as in the psalm. It reminds us that, empowered by the Holy Spirit, there will be decisions to be made, work to do, to enable the Good News of God’s love to be heard. But now, in the light of Easter, we know, as do the disciples in the first reading, nothing can prevent God making a home with us.

Damian Coleridge

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