What would it have been like to have seen the risen Jesus and to have heard him say, “Peace be with you” before handing on the Holy Spirit? Yet, for those of us in the twenty-first century, we experience the same Holy Spirit. When we were baptized, we were given the gift of the Spirit, and then we were sealed by that same spirit in confirmation. The Holy Spirit lives in our parishes, families, friends, and relationships. After he rose from the dead, Jesus gave his Holy Spirit to be with us. In our daily lives, let us allow ourselves to be guided by the Spirit of Christ, whose disciples we are.
The night before he died, Jesus prayed for us and for all those who were chosen by God. Rather than make us smug, this knowledge should humble us and cause us to emulate him who came to serve rather than be served. We live in the world but are not of the world. It is only a temporary home for us. A bright future awaits where love reigns and glory is resplendent. For Jesus in the Gospel of John the crucifixion is the lifting up, the exaltation of the Son of God. With eyes of faith, let us see anew and reorient our lives.
As Christians we seek to follow the example of Christ, who poured himself out in love. Love know no limits and there is not a point when we say “enough”. Love sees the other as another self, so that the needs of the other are as important as our own. When modern communication has made the world a global village, the needs of our neighbors can seem overwhelming. Where do we stop? Yet, we are called to move beyond ourselves as Jesus did and to place our lives in service of the other, in imitation of him. Then we may merit the name “disciple,” when we are known by our love.
The relationship between Jesus and the Father cannot be reduced to a mathematical formula; it is not an engineering problem. It is a dynamic rather than static relationship. It is not reducible to quantifiable precision, as we might expect in a chemistry lab. Ultimately, we are dealing with imagery, metaphor, and analogy for the divine, which cannot be boxed up, packaged, and distributed in discrete packets of knowledge. The gospel reading invites us to center into this dynamic relationship between the Father and the Son, God and the Word. Once engaged, this dynamic relationship never ends, but only continues, often deepens, and typically changes.