We have but one Master to whom we go and whom we follow. To belong to him means to have his Spirit who makes picking out true Christians easy.
A maid of the high priest had no trouble picking out Peter as a follower of Jesus. Nor did another girl and some bystanders. After all, they had seen him with Jesus. His speech, moreover, gave him away.
Obviously, people no longer see us Christians follow Jesus or go with him. He is not with us as he was with Peter and the other disciples. For he has gone up to heaven.
But this does not mean that there is no picking us out as followers of Jesus. For every cloud—the cloud, too, that takes Jesus from our sight—has a silver lining. Leaving us, Jesus does not only ask us to grow up, meaning, to believe and love him without seeing him. His going, in fact, also means the coming of the Advocate.
No, Jesus does not leave us helpless, defenseless. Rather, he gives us another Advocate to be with us always, the Spirit of truth. The Spirit teaches us everything, reminds us of all of Jesus’ words, witnesses to him, guides us to all truth. Through the Spirit, in other words, we get to know and belong to Jesus. To confess that he is Lord and call God “Father.”
The Spirit makes for others picking us out as Jesus’ own.
The Spirit calls Jesus back, so that we may follow him, learn from him, from his deeds and words. Through his Spirit, we can also be with Jesus as he goes about doing good. And with the Spirit’s coming to convict the world, Jesus can take issue with us. While we bicker, for example, about who is the greatest. Or when we cannot bear a hard teaching.
Through the Advocate, moreover, Jesus stands and speaks up for us. Whether in times of persecution, or when guardians of tradition sweat the small stuff, like picking grain on the Sabbath and eating with unwashed hands. He thus makes us feel safe alongside him.
Also, with the Spirit of truth dwelling in us, we are able to see through lies. And in that way, confusion does not take us away from the project of the kingdom of God.
But, above all, the Spirit reminds us that, with Jesus, laying down our lives in love comes first. It is what distinguishes the Eucharist and marks us as Christians, so that others cannot help picking us out, although they no longer see us with Jesus.
Lord Jesus, your Spirit leading us, may we go and set people’s hearts on fire with love (see SV.EN XII:215). Make us proclaim you to the nations, acting and speaking like you. And glad, too, that others know and are picking us out as your followers.
9 June 2019
Pentecost Sunday (C)
Acts 2, 1-11; 1 Cor 12, 3b-7. 12-13/Rom 8, 8-17; Jn 20, 19-23/Jn 14, 15-16. 23b-26
Tags: A Vincentian reading of the Sunday readings, Ross Dizon