Have you ever been surprised by receiving a gift that you didn’t expect? Or do you have a childhood memory of receiving a long-awaited gift…like a puppy?! (I didn’t get a puppy ~ I got a parakeet – we lived in an apartment!)
Do you remember the Joy of giving a gift to a loved one and it was just the perfect gift; and just the right moment!?
Giving and receiving gifts are good experiences and very often the “present” received turns into the “Presence” of the Giver in our lives. Like the widow who looks down and touches the wedding band of her husband now gone home to God, but, in that moment/gesture, she feels his presence.
Today we hear Jesus say, “Whoever loves me will keep my word and my Father will love them. And we will come to them and make our home/our dwelling with them.”
Jesus is telling His disciples, telling us, that He loves us. Jesus is telling us about the gift of His love, the Gift of the love and closeness, the indwelling of the Father (the Creator) and Himself, the Redeemer. And then He goes on to offer more of this Gift– the promise of the Holy Spirit– the Advocate who will teach us and remind us of everything Jesus has told us and taught us!
These words of John’s Gospel make the mystery of the Trinity tangible, believable. Jesus is really saying that God wants to draw each one of us into this Life of Love, this Circle of Love, His Embrace! We are given the ultimate Gift of Divine Love: the wonder, warmth and welcome of each person of the Trinity! Every time we sign ourselves, we remember and receive this awesome Gift of LOVE. But there is more!
Jesus goes on to speak some consoling, yet somewhat troubling words: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you…Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid…”
This is Jesus’ farewell gift to His disciples and, yes, to us. We ought to rejoice that Jesus returns to the Father. At the Last Supper with His friends, Jesus directed His face towards the cross, the resurrection and ascension. Another Gift: The Paschal Mystery.
But the disciples were troubled and afraid. Often times, we are troubled. It appears that Jesus was leaving His friends, and, in our own lives, we too feel troubled. We, too, feel that He is far from us.
Yet, Jesus felt deep Joy. He knew his departure would bring them and us peace.
You see, with Jesus at the Father’s right hand, He could, He can, pour out His Spirit into our hearts and the Spirit can reveal God’s love, God’s peace, in deeper and newer ways.
Their and our restless hearts will find peace, Everlasting Peace.
So, how did the disciples and how can we experience this gift of deep Peace that Jesus promised? No wonder they gathered in that upper room to pray…
I guess we, too, are being invited to go to our “upper room” and to spend time in prayer. Prayer works when we become aware of the indwelling of the Creator, Son, and Spirit in our lives and ask for help to lift our minds and hearts to experience this Gift of Deep Peace.
This Gift, this Presence, is always present! Let us be ready and willing to open our hands, our hearts, to receive it.
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