thoughts and observations on the daily readings
Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Readings may be found here
Every loving parent knows the truth that even as you would do anything for your children, one of the most important things you do is help them to grow and thrive as mature adults. When young, you must protect them; but that same protection can become oppression if it lasts too long. An “empty nest” might bring strong emotions, but it should also inspire satisfaction in a job well done.
We have a parallel to this truth in the passage from John. Jesus has been preparing his disciples at great length for the events of His passion and death. Even as they grieve at the news of His departure, He has been teaching them that this moment is actually for their good and the good of the mission. His departure will open the gift of the Spirit to them – the gift that will teach, strengthen, and empower them to take up His work of healing and reconciliation. Whereas Jesus own earthly ministry was limited to the range that His own two feet carried Him on the roads of Galilee and Judea, these disciples will seed a new family of faith that will carry the Gospel and the presence of Jesus Christ across vast distances and through the years to come.
God Who is all powerful, never exercises that power to dominate or control. The Spirit descends “like the dewfall,” the Servant of the Lord does not break the “bruised reed” or “quench the smoldering wick.” God’s power, the power of love, seeks only the free and loving response of the beloved. Even if the disciples struggle to understand in the moment, He is loving them in a way that will bring from their free hearts the best of responses. They will grow and mature in the faith and become more and more the men and women made in the image and likeness of God. They will “bear fruit” (15:8, 16), their “joy will be complete” (15:11), they will love as they have been loved (15:10), they will testify (15:27). All these things belong to the disciples of Jesus Christ - all these things belong to you and I should we make a similar free and loving response to the call of the Lord. He would have us grow, mature, and “take flight” in the life of grace.