Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Through accepting Jesus’ love we automatically accept His life giving message


Sixth Sunday of Easter (Year C)

Last Sundays Gospel, taken from the 14th chapter of the Gospel according to John, is part of the farewell discourse Jesus gave to His disciples to prepare them for the change which is about to happen; Jesus is going to be crucified and die for the sins of the world, but He will rise on the third day to open Heaven and allow us to become children of God. Jesus’ passing opens a complete new reality for us, and Jesus is preparing His disciples so “when it does happen [they] believe.” For us too, now in the time of preparation for Pentecost, it is a chance to think again about what it means that Jesus is risen and that He is with us, that it too might strengthen our own belief.

Earlier in the chapter Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one can come to the Father except by me”. Only through Jesus can we come to the Father and to eternal life; only by listening to Him can we accept and grasp the meaning of what it is to be true children of God. It is however not an easy thing to understand how we can become children of God, and how God is going to live in us! Indeed it is a teaching that can only be understood through faith. 

The encounter with Jesus is an encounter with genuine love, and an encounter which can open our hearts to accept the Truth He is offering to us. Through accepting Jesus’ love we automatically accept His life giving message, and through this acceptance we receive the grace we need to see and understand reality as it really is.

If we love Jesus we automatically accept His message, we automatically keep His word. There is no separation between who Jesus is and what He teaches. While for people who do not have faith Jesus’ teaching can be obscure and unacceptable, for those close to Him they are life giving, and they indeed recognised it as the teachings of God Himself.

When I discovered my faith about 10 years ago this was exactly what happened in my life. The encounter with the Truth suddenly makes so many things which were obscure before as clear as glass. For me the initial encounter was through reading the Word of God, especially the Gospels, and through the love of Jesus  experienced in prayer. This new discovery opened up for me a whole new perspective of the world. It changes everything! 

If we listen to the Word of God and keep it, then God really comes to dwell within us! He comes to us and helps us to become the persons we are really meant to be, the persons we are as God intended us to be when He made us. By allowing God into our lives we open ourselves up to a new reality in which our daily lives are not limited to the finitude of our day to day business. No, it opens up our experience to already participate in some of the blessings we will receive in Heaven. 

The true light comes into our lives and sheds light on aspects we did not notice before or maybe rather did not want to see. In my own personal experience I have seen this in the whole Pro-life struggle here in Ireland. When I grew up in the Netherlands there was never a hint of the baby in the womb being a person. It was just something which was never mentioned, a question never asked, and something never thought about. It was one of those things which was hidden in the dark, in the shadowy corners of the world, to be left ignored and left obscure. But with God in our lives it becomes clear. 

The closer we are to God the better we can see what is really happening around us. This gives a security, and indeed a peace which Jesus promises us. A peace which the world cannot give. Even though seeing everything clearly is not always the easiest, it is much better to go through life in daylight then stumbling all the time in the half dark, not knowing exactly where we are going.

If we don’t accept Jesus’ Word, and do no accept His teaching, or when we reject God and close our hearts to His love we somehow lose the sense of this reality, we shun the light which can enlighten the half-dark corners of this world. Reality lived in the shadows is not real anymore but becomes an enclosed world centred on ourselves where we cannot see much further then what is within our reach. Instead of living a life which is opened by love, we live an enclosed life. This is a life which is incompatible with a life with Jesus at its centre, and by its very fact of that way of living it is possible to shut God out and reject the gifts He wants to give us. When we do accept Jesus in our lives then we find the peace Jesus promises, a peace which if we look for it in the world we cannot find, a peace the world cannot give.

This is true, and this is real. I stand up to it myself, and wouldn’t be here if I did not belief it. Walking in the light is not always easy, and sometimes we prefer the dark. However, God is always there to help and guide us. He wants to be with us, and he wants to help us, He wants to be our light. Moreover, God has sent His Holy Spirit to guide us and enlighten us. As he promised in todays Gospel, the Holy Spirit will always guides us in finding the true way, to help us to understand, and remind us of what Jesus is saying to us and who will teach us to become better people.

Finally, we are not alone, there are many people around us who have discovered the treasure of our faith too. They too have encountered the Word, and embraced it! They have found this peace Jesus is offering. They are the people who are described as kind and gentile, and they radiate a happiness which seems to some almost unreal. This is what is offered by God, only to be accepted by us as a gift.

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