Called out of isolation
7 May, 2023 5th Sunday Easter, Year A
Listen to reflection
We all know isolation in our lives and the harm it can bring. It’s why there are many organisations to help us when we need them, old and young alike, but what’s it got to do with today’s gospel?
Perhaps we’re like the disciples, uncertain, puzzled by what we’re hearing from the ‘Farewell Discourse’ in John’s gospel; but, whatever our response, at the heart of this gospel is relationship, with Jesus, the Father and one another. Here they are in a room, just prior to Jesus’ arrest and death, and he says he’s leaving them, but won’t abandon them.
The disciples are unnerved by this, which is why he prefaces it by saying have faith and do not fear. ‘Go to the place where fear lives’ and begin to find there a deep-rooted trust in Jesus, in the Father. This isn’t simply some life coach positivity, as he’s soon to show them on the cross. For those who follow him on his way through death into the love of God, Jesus says, he’s going to prepare an ‘abiding place’– a room in my Father’s house, where we might be at home.
It seems homelessness is not on offer, for God is relationship. This is what God wants for us.
In the first section the disciples are puzzled by what Jesus says of his death and his return and more so when he tells them, he is ‘the Way, the Truth and the Life’. Then, he further reveals his relationship with the Father when he says that seeing me you’ve seen the Father, because ‘I am in the Father and the Father is in me.’ At which point, understanding the disciple’s bewilderment, Jesus says, but for now, see the works that have been done and trust in me: trust him to bring us out of our isolation.
In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles we hear of the fulfilment of Jesus’ promise to be with us after his resurrection releases the Holy Spirit and fifty days later, at Pentecost, we witness the power of this release. The question for us is, are we able to see the Lord at work in our lives, however undramatic it might seem? Are we able to reveal his way of being in the world?
Because it’s this that the church reveals to the world, and his going enables us, as he says, ‘to perform even greater works.’ Come what may, nothing can separate us now from the love of God revealed in the death and resurrection of Jesus; it’s the promise of Easter.
As this promise is gradually made real in our lives we are able to ‘ring out your joy to the Lord’, as the psalm says, because the Lord is with us and we’re called, in the words of the second reading, ‘out of darkness into his wonderful light.’ We’re called out of our isolation into relationship with one another and God, forever.
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