The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home
May 26, 2019 – Sixth Sunday of Easter - John 14:23-29
Parents know that one of the greatest fears of young children is that of being “left alone.” But that’s not just true of the young. Fear of being all alone haunts everyone at times. To be without help when we need it, to be forgotten by family and friends, to be all alone in a strange place is not only scary, it can be a cause for great concern. Products are now available especially to the elderly which create a call for help when no one is around. That’s important.
And Jesus knew about this fear and that’s why he assured his followers toward the end of his life that he would never leave them alone. After his resurrection he would return and enter their presence with God’s Holy Spirit. And while we may forget about God’s continuous presence with us and in us, it’s not because God in Christ is gone. Rather, it’s because we forget about God. In that sense, we leave God.
One of the biggest dangers in our spiritual lives is that we become overly preoccupied with what’s outside us and not attentive nearly enough to what, or better, who is inside us. We are sometimes described as being more interested in the world around us that what’s within us. Most religions, especially our own, place great value in meditation and quiet prayer because that helps awaken us to a reality that is with us all the time, God’s loving presence within us.
Much is written today about the many distractions that assail us throughout the day. For example, many carry their phones with them wherever they go. They don’t want to be “out of touch” with others who might call us or text us. This is not a bad thing in itself, but if the outside world totally captures our attention, we will miss the quiet word that God speaks to us each day.
Suppose God wants to communicate with us or just remind us that God is there immediately in our presence. If we are not aware or attentive to the ways God can communicate with us – like in conscious thought about God, or feelings caused by God – well, we will unlikely connect with the Spirit of God who is ALWAYS with us.
In today’s gospel Jesus promises us that God will always be with you and me. Awareness of that presence can bring interior peace, which is so important for a good life. We are told not to be “troubled or afraid.” This is a message for both the young and the old, and all those in between.
©David M. Thomas, PhD