C Cycle – 6th Sunday of Easter 19
If you love me, you would keep my word and my Father will love you and we will come to you and make our dwelling with you.
What word must we keep in order to have Jesus and the Father dwelling with us? Dwelling with us goes beyond them just being pleased with our lives; it indicates something much more intimate. So just what word of Jesus must we keep? God has from the beginning of creation desired to dwell with us. God gave Adam and Eve authority over the kingdom where He would dwell with us forever. However, Adam and Eve broke the one command God gave them and we lost that place of intimacy, but God never changed his plan.
In His desire to be with us God directs his chosen people to a land flowing with milk and honey and on the way He gave His chosen people the law on Mt. Sinai. The law was to give them life, but once again human nature failed to keep those laws because our hearts are self-centered, and we are weak in the face of temptation. Paul understood this weakness in all of us when he lamented his own inability to do God’s will. Paul said, “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want…wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:19, 24).
Today Jesus is not telling us something new about God’s desire to dwell with us. Jesus is reinforcing God’s desire to dwell with us. What Jesus is telling us is how he has equipped us to overcome our human nature by the infilling of the Spirit. When that happens, we will overcome our desire to serve self as we find joy, life and peace in doing God’s will. The promise of the Spirit to change our hearts is the only thing we need in order to maintain intimacy with God. Jesus is reinforcing this by telling us to keep his word and one word was to stay in the city until we are clothed with power from on high.
That means we must make a shift in our spiritual journey and it begins with us accepting the gift God gave us in Jesus Christ. Accepting the gift of Jesus means more than believing; it means more than understanding; it means more than acknowledging. By accepting Jesus, we move beyond salvation given us by his death to living as disciples giving praise and honor to God. Jesus did not come just to save us or redeem us by his death. He came to give us life and to show us the Father; he came to show us how to live in the kingdom of God on earth. Jesus by telling us to keep his word is telling us we need to shift our thinking to inviting the Spirit to give us wisdom, understanding and the will to become witnesses proclaiming the mercy and forgiveness of God.
When that happens, we will begin to live in the Kingdom of God because His love floods us, and His words guide us. We will begin to experience a desire deep within us motivating us to make God’s love and forgiveness known. We will devour the Word of God and it will permeate our minds and hearts guiding us as we become one with the word and it becomes our words, our source of truth, our guiding fire of God’s love. By becoming one with the Word we will move from seeking a comfortable faith to being comfortable with the uncertainty of discipleship. The Spirit will challenge us, just as Jesus challenged the disciples, to continue to grow in knowledge of the depth of God’s love and His desire for intimacy with us.
We need to understand it is the in the life of Jesus given to us in the Scriptures that we will gain insights into who we were created to become. Think of where we are in our liturgical year and you will find we are in that time after His resurrection but before His ascension and before Pentecost. The disciples could not comprehend what his resurrection meant and certainly were unclear about the future. The words He spoke to them the night before his death are going to become clear but not during this period of His appearances as they try to make sense of how to respond to Jesus.
His words like those of today are easy to overlook because they are not where we are in our spiritual journey. We fail to keep the words of Jesus because we have not sought intimacy with Jesus or the Father nor have, we allowed the Spirit to move within us.
Jesus as he speaks these words, knows the Spirit will make all he has ever said meaningful and as they become one with His words their lives will change just as the Spirit will change us. The Spirit will give us the will, the desire and the wisdom to embrace forgiveness, to feel God’s love and to live a life pleasing to God and according to His will. The Word of God will be written on our hearts.