The Spirit comes to stay
A while back, I knew a group of ladies at church who couldn’t let go of their priest, despite his coming transfer. He was being sent to a new parish 40 miles away. They were not ready. They even talked about chartering a bus to go to his first Mass at the new place. Why? He had led them to Jesus. Before they met him, they went to church on and off, always seeking, never finding. What they didn’t realize was that he had prepared them for his inevitable departure all along. In fact, they were like missionaries to the rest of the parish, helping the next priest to continue the good works the previous one had begun. But at first they didn’t see it that way. All they were thinking was Don’t go!
That’s how the disciples felt when Jesus ascended into heaven. Here they had waited all their lives for a messiah who had been promised for thousands of years. Before Jesus, they were always seeking, never finding. Then he had come and shown them the Father. They had lived with him for three years, hung on his every word, walked with him from town to town, and slept by him under the stars. They had lost him once and then miraculously received him back again. Now, in the glorious time after his resurrection when everything seemed complete, he was going away?
Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? (Acts 1:11)
Because: Don’t go!
They were not ready. They didn’t even see it coming, though Our Lord had told them.
What does this mean that he is saying to us, “A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me,” and “Because I am going to the Father?” (John 16:17)
Our Lord knew exactly how they would feel: sad, afraid, lost.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. (John 14:27)
He promised to send the Holy Spirit to comfort them; the word comfort means “to give strength.”
I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world can- not accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. (John 14:16-18)
Imagine Pentecost: the rushing wind, the searing fire. Now breathe deeply and imagine be- ing filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus is no longer beside you; he is in you.
I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you. (John 14:20)
That is Confirmation. Your sons and daughters receive exactly the same sacrament as the disciples did on Pentecost, just without the special effects. Do they realize it?
Young people are always seeking, seldom finding. Teach them to call upon the Holy Spirit whenever they feel sad, afraid, or lost. A silent prayer, “Come, Holy Spirit,” is all it takes, and he will come and give them strength. He will instruct them in the ways of God and empower them to carry on his works. Most of all, he will never go.
SUSIE LLOYD has won three Catholic Press Awards for her writing. Find her books, articles, and speaking schedule at SusieLloyd.com.
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