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Sunday 1st May

In his final instructions to his apostles Jesus goes over some ground with which we are familiar. He reminds them of his oneness with the Father, and his mandate from the Father. He reminds them of the gift of peace, the Easter gift bequeathed to his followers of a gift the world cannot give; the gift of being at peace with God, with others and with self. He encourages them not to fear or allow themselves to be troubled and he speaks all these things and does all these things so that others, so that we might come to faith.

Jesus also promises the gift of the Spirit. It is the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead and who is our guarantee of eternal life and victory over death. The Spirit, sent by the Father we are told, will remind us, teach us, strengthen us and live within us. God will live within us and therefore we need fear nothing, let nothing trouble us, or fear even death itself.

The test of our love is to be the keeping of Jesus’ word, or more accurately, the word given to Jesus by the Father. The failure of our first parents to keep their word can be undone in Christ’s death and resurrection if we keep our word as followers.

We cannot keep some words, and disregard others. We cannot assume that our interpretation of Jesus’ word is the last word and live according to our own orthodoxy. We need the authority of an objective word of truth to prevent us from being false to the gospel and indulging ourselves by following and loving Jesus according to our own terms and cut according to our own comfortable measure.

To love Jesus and to keep his word is to listen to the promptings of the Spirit dwelling within. It is to be at peace and untroubled, unafraid in the face of the uncertainties of life and death. It is to trust, to believe, and to explore always the depth of what has been revealed to us in Jesus’ word over the course of our lives.

It is to believe, to search together, to accompany, and to listen. It is to have the freedom to let go of Jesus who will ascend to the Father, who will send the Spirit, and who will return to welcome us to the glory of the Father.