Wow! Just wow! The Mass readings for today explode with both mystery and victory!
If we dive into the Gospel for today, we are amidst Jesus’ Last Supper discourse. Jesus has so much he wants to share before his Passion begins. Let us re-read this passage in this context, so we can feel the intensity of the moment. Place yourself in the candlelit Upper Room, sitting at the table with Jesus, and his apostles and hear Him say:
“Now I am going to the one who sent me, and not one of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I told you this, grief has filled your hearts. But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.
Clearly, the apostles sense the urgency of Jesus’ words. It tells us they are filled with grief. They do not understand what is about to take place, but they feel a sense of foreboding. Jesus knows this. He knows their wounded hearts, and He strengthens them with this truth as their comfort – the coming of the Advocate!
What could this mean? Certainly, His words were a mystery to them, as they so often are for us when we are in a place of confusion and suffering. We cannot see past the pain. Unanswered prayers seem to loom over us; the threat of defeat, despair, or despondency can set in. They could not “see” past their current situations, but Jesus offered them the invitation to trust in His Promise of the Advocate. They will need to cling to this Promise as they push through his Passion, Death, Resurrection and as we will celebrate this Sunday – His Ascension.
I pause and ask myself: Can I enter this mystery in all the current difficulties of my own life?
Claiming the Victory
Fast forward to the first reading – the amazing story of Paul and Silas’s imprisonment and miraculous release (Acts 16: 22-34)!
No more hiding behind closed doors. No more doubting. And no more paralyzing fear. That is the work of the Advocate! Paul and Silas are singing in jail after being beaten. Not knowing what would become of them, they praise God. Where does that power come from?
You shall be clothed with power from on high when the Holy Spirit comes to you. -Acts 1:8
And that kind of faith and power always bears fruit; it is the fruit of claiming the victory that God’s word is true. It is the victory that this is the age of the Holy Spirit, and He is just as alive and working among us now as He was then!
Today – let us take a few minutes to be in awe at the power of the Holy Spirit for all the ways we do see Him working in our lives and in the world. But if you are struggling at this moment to see Him, then instead take a few minutes in silence to acknowledge that truth. If the Holy Spirit feels hidden to you right now, tell Him that and invite Him in. Invite him to open your eyes to the Truth. Pray with me (or feel free to use your own words) …
Holy Spirit, I invite and welcome you into my mind, my heart, my body, my whole being. I praise you because I sometimes feel burdened by my circumstances, and I cannot see beyond the mystery. I reject all threats of defeat, despondency, and despair. Instead, I claim the truth of your victory. Unleash your power in my life. Thank you for hearing me.
Now, imitate Paul and Silas. Praise God even though you do not know the future. Praise Him for every blessing you can think of throughout the day. We can trust God; He has given us a powerful Advocate who will never abandon us. Amen. Alleluia!