Sixth Sunday of Easter
May 1, 2016 – Year C
Readings: Acts 15:1-2, 22-29 / Ps 67 / Rev 21:10-14, 22-23 / Jn 14:23-29
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
A story is told about a grandfather who, one sunny Sunday afternoon, went to visit his daughter and her family. As soon as he went in their door, he saw his little grandson, Timmy, crying inside the playpen. When the little boy saw him, he lit up and cried: “Grandpa! Take me out of here!” Is there a grandfather who can refuse that plea from his grandson? So he lifted him out from his captivity and carried him in his arms, and everything was just fine for a few seconds, until law and order came. His daughter, Timmy’s mom, coming from the kitchen, noticed what he did and speaking with a voice of authority, she said, “No, Timmy, you are being punished. You have to stay in bed. Please leave him right there, Dad.”
What will the grandfather do now? He doesn’t want to disappoint his grandson, but he also doesn’t want to interfere with a mother’s discipline. As always, grandfathers become creative in this situation. Since he couldn’t take Timmy out of the playpen, he climbed in with him and said, “If you are in the playpen, buddy, I’m in the playpen. So, what’s the sentence? How long are you in for?” And with his big, jolly grandpa filling his little prison cell, the little boy found comfort even in captivity.
This love of a grandfather for his grandson gives us a glimpse of God’s love for each and every one of us.
In today’s gospel, Jesus said to his disciples: “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.” These words of the Lord must have been in the minds of the early Christians when St. Paul told them: “Do you know that you are God’s temple, and the Holy Spirit dwells in you?”
So, when Jesus said to His disciples, before He ascended into heaven, that He would be with them until the end of ages, they must have had the grace to feel His presence all the days of their lives.
The good news is that the same Jesus who was in the company of His disciples before and after His resurrection is the same Jesus who is with us as we gather here together, and He will always be with us. Sometimes, just like little Timmy, we may also feel that we are in captivity, perhaps not physically but emotionally, psychologically, socially, and even spiritually. We might be captive to all sorts of problems in our lives, but we know that this is part of life’s reality. However, the fact that we are all here in the sanctuary of Holy Name of Mary at this very moment shows that we believe that God is always a good God, and His blessings always outnumber our difficulties.
Charles Dickens once said, “Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty, not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” These words are pretty close to what St. Paul said in his letter to the Philippians: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, and if there is anything worth your praise, think about these things.” Although he was physically in jail at the time he was writing this letter, spiritually St. Paul was always a free man.
Before the Lord Jesus ascended into heaven, He said to His disciples: “I will be with you always.” When they heard these words, they must have understood that He was trying to tell them and us, His followers in the twenty-first century, that under no circumstances should we feel alone, for as long as we are living in this world, He will be with us, until we see Him face to face in His eternal kingdom.