The Good Word for May 31

1366654673_lk_ss_26For the complete Sunday readings click here.

In the final line from the gospel for this Sunday Jesus tells us that, “I am with you always, until the end of the age.” I think a lot of us take great comfort in this promise and believe whole-heartedly this truth. But what does Jesus really mean?

I think it would be easy for me to interpret Jesus’ words to mean something like the scene in the Lion King when Simba looks up into the sky and sees the face of his father Mufasa and then Rafiki says something like, “See your father will always be with you.” I’m reasonably sure Jesus didn’t mean that.

It could be that we interpret Jesus to mean that his ideas or philosophy would always be with us. Kind of like, as long as Jesus’ good ideas are alive, Jesus is alive. But I’m pretty sure would have said that if he meant it.

No one would blame us if we interpreted Jesus to be sort of repeating an earlier line that wherever two or three are gathered, Jesus would be there. But that isn’t exactly what Jesus says here. His message is straightforward. He promises to be with us.

So what does Jesus mean?

At the end of nearly every gospel, Jesus promises to leave us an Advocate, the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit isn’t just some breeze or flame, but a full, true member of the Holy Trinity. The Holy Spirit is God. In John 14:15-31, Jesus promises to send his Holy Spirit to be with us forever. Jesus says, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name – he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you” (Jn 14:18, 25).

When Jesus says he will be with us always, he really means it. Not in some metaphoric way, but truly, completely, and really present to us.

Do you have trouble believing this? Do you have trouble feeling like Jesus is present to you? Do you ever wonder if anyone really hears your prayer?

If so, then you are like most of the great saints of our Church. Everyone struggles to believe this truth at some point in their faith journey. The good news is that even when we struggle to believe it, Jesus is still with us. God is still close to us. The Holy Spirit is ever moving to powerfully work in our lives.

Live It:
Visit HNOJ’s Chapel. Whether or not you are having trouble knowing Jesus is present to you, I highly recommend HNOJ’s Chapel. You can sit in peace and quiet, while in the real presence of Jesus found in the Eucharist. Never been to the chapel? Not sure how to go? It’s simple: walk in, make the sign of the cross, kneel or sit, and give your attention to Jesus for as long as you like. Want to know more? Email me.

The Good Word for May 10th

For the complete Sunday readings click here.

IMG_7490

On Cinco de Mayo, I made a Tres Leche cake for my family. Tres Leche is a cake soaked in “3 milks.” It is super sweet and so good. One of my daughters couldn’t stop gushing about it. Finally she just said, “I love this cake.”

We use the word “love” to describe our appreciation for a number of different things. I love cake. I love my friends. I love my wife. All three statements mean different things. In other languages, they have different words that mean different things, but all of which get translated to love.

The great Christian author C.S. Lewis wrote a book called The Four Loves in which he describes four distinct ways we use the word Love.

The first love is Affection. This is the love that says, “I really like and appreciate this person.” When my kids do something that makes me proud, I love them in this way. This love is emotional and bubbles up within us as a response to the situation at hand.

The second love is Friendship. This is the love that says, “I like this person because we get along and share similar interests or goals.” We often share friendship with people just because of proximity. Being with someone can bring about friendship. A good example is the friendships you have at work or school, but don’t see those same people socially.

The third love is Eros. This is the love Continue reading