April 27, 2008 Year A
Sixth Sunday of Easter
Reflections on the Readings
By Dennis Hankins
Theme: Deep In Our Heart
Jesus said, "On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you." (John 14:20)
The Holy Spirit makes Jesus present in our heart.
As we reflect on the Gospel in the light of Holy Easter, we continue to be drawn into closeness with Jesus. Soon, he tells his disciples, that the world will see him no more but you will. Jesus says the world cannot receive the Spirit of truth, because it neither sees him nor knows him. And then he adds, "You know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you."
The same Spirit that overshadowed Mary and caused her to conceive Jesus in her womb makes Jesus present in our heart. Mary kept the commandments because she loved the Lord from her heart. Her fiat was possible because of the gift of grace that had always been alive in her. If we believe that Mary is the first temple of the Holy Spirit, we can contemplate how we also can know the presence of the Lord deeply in our heart.
If we love him it is only because he first loved us. Humility requires us to understand that we did not choose him, but rather he chose us. What manner of love is this that we should be called his sons and daughters?
In his extraordinary promise of another Advocate, Jesus is emphasizing his abiding presence in the Church and in us through a reunited relationship with him and His Father by the Spirit of truth. It is Jesus' desire that we be one in him even as He and the Father are one. Jesus spoke often and deeply of his unity with the Father. And it is this depth of divine love Jesus bequeaths to us. It is his to give because it is his prayer to the Father for us. Jesus comes to us through the divine Spirit because He ever lives. And we express our love for and to the Lord by reverencing him in our hearts by the keeping of his commandments.
There is in our Lord's words today a revelation of what it means to be holy. Holiness is not a passive thing. We become holy as we reverence Jesus as Lord in our heart. And speaking for myself, it is unholy attitudes, words and actions that come out of me when I stray in my heart from Him who is always faithful. It is never Jesus who grows cold in his affection for me. Always it is me who abandons the love I had at first. Then I remember like a man awaken out of a deep slumber, Jesus has never left me nor forsaken me. And then I long again for the familiar embrace. The road back lies deep in my heart where the light of his love shines and by that light I find my way back to my Father's house. Here is where the holy reunion takes place and where the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit greet me, while angels look on and rejoice. Hallelujah!
By means of the Holy Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist we can keep our affections in check. Through these we can truly grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. These Sacraments assist in the conversion of our heart, underscoring the truth that deep and lasting conversion is more like a journey than a moment in time. Daily renewal of our heart and mind is possible as we remember that we are not our own, that we were bought with a price. It is deep within our heart we must embrace our true vocation as children of God, which is Christ in us the hope of glory.
Dear friends, it is for the sake of our salvation and of the world why we contemplate deeply on truly loving Him and abiding in His love. Remembering the unity that was severed in the Garden, it is with unspeakable joy we find ourselves reunited to the Father in the Son of His love through the Holy Spirit. This only possible by the fruit of another tree, where suspended between heaven and earth, the sacred heart of Jesus poured forth water and blood that broke the power of sin deep in our heart.
Let us pray: Dear Jesus, may it be that at last I will love you with my whole heart. At the beginning Satan deceived Eve by his cunning. I pray that in my thoughts I will not be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to you. Take not your Spirit from me. Create in me a clean heart. Amen.