The beautiful and catchy phrase in today’s Gospel: “I will not leave you orphans…” is one that leaves me with so much hope, faith and Trust in God. And any time this phrase is being re-echoed in my encounter with the living Word of God, in the Sacred Scriptures or being said by a preacher, there is some sigh of relief and reassurance that Christ will certainly not leave us friendless and forlorn as he speaks directly to some of our greatest fears and challenges; abandonment, isolation, worries, fears, loneliness and vulnerability.
As Christians, this phrase reminds us that we are not destined to walk this earth without an identity or direction. It reminds us that we do not stand alone, it reminds us that we are not fatherless, that God is our Father who is always present with us at every seconds, minutes, and hours of our existence. Friends, there are seasons and moments in our lives that we are bedevilled with abysmal situations, difficulties and tragedies that leaves us with the feeling that we are orphans. Hence, we dare to think that God has abandoned us and we are desolate.
This spurs us to questions about the reality of God in our lives by asking some certain questions; if God isalive and humanity is going through these perilous and devastating times of the novel Corona Virus which have ravaged our world and has bought it to its knees? Some might ask; where do I go from here? What does the future holds for me? Who will be my father and mother? Why am I hated this much at my workplace? Why don’t I feel loved by others? Who will love and guide me? Who will stand on my sidewhen am rejected by all? Who will speak for me when am I marginalised? Who will fight for me for the recovery of my pensions, my entitlements and for my civic rights? In the face of injustice who will be the voice of Justice for me?
These are the orphan’s questions, and most probably these are some the questions that might be running through the heads and hearts of Jesus’ disciples when he gave them his valedictory and farewell speech. Jesus’ announcement of leaving the disciples was disheartening and a hard pill for them to swallow, because he gave them relevance, identity and direction, he feed them with is Body and Blood at the Last Supper. He washed their feet; teaching them the essence of service to their fellow brethren, He wrought so many miracles by giving hope to the hopeless, faith to those in despair and love to those whom the world hadrejected, He died for their sins and that of humanity, and rose from the dead, giving them an assurance that he is truly the messiah and it was because of him they left everything theyhad – business, property and families to follow him and now he says he is leaving them to the Father.
What a joke! What does the future holds for them, they asked. It was a sad tale for the disciples. But Jesus gave them an assurance, “I will not leave you orphans” – I shall ask the Father to send you the Advocate; the Spirit of truth; to guide you, to teach you and to be with you, if only you are ready to keep my commandments. Keeping the commandments is our access to Jesus’ promise that we will not be left orphans. Keeping the commandments does not make Jesus present to us; it makes us present to the reality of Jesus’ presence. The commandments do not earn us His love. They reveal our love for him, a love that originates in his abiding love and presence within us. “I will not leave you orphans…” Over and over, day after day, regardless of what is happening in our lives is Jesus’ promiseto us.
By keeping his commandments, He admonishes us to love with all that we are and all that we have, Just as the Trinity communicates the same love to us. Beloved in Christ, The Spirit promised to us by Jesus, is one who will be right next to us on our journey as our companion, friend and guide – to support us so that we seldom fall on our faces and when we find ourselves in stressful situations and stormy times, the Spirit is always ready to assist us; to offer us hope; to empower us and to assuage and mollify our uneasy predicaments. Brethren, the Holy Spirits remains our ideal teacher and guide.
The Christian life is impracticable and impossible without the Holy Spirit. As Christians, there are so many intrigues, perplexities and dilemmas that we must contend with, especially in a world that is almost relegating God to the background. Only those who pay attention to the Holy Spirit can understand the reasons for these and where they are leading us to, and with firm belief are assured that they are not left orphans. So, this time calls for a special relationship, encounter and union with the Holy Spirit. If we must survive the perils of our time we must make the Holy Spirit our Advocate and Partner, because It is only through the guidance of the Holy Spirit that we can face the struggles of this life and emerge as Victors’. Friends, Our life on earth would become more worthwhile and spiritually effectual if we relied on the direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is within us but mostly undiscovered and unnoticed. Without listening to the Holy Spirit we continue to go round in a vicious circle and feel some sought of vacuum and hopelessness in our lives. Hence, if we allow Him to take the lead; we will walk well, live rightly and keep the commandments of God. If we invite him in our life; he will dwell in us, strengthen us in the way of truth and confirms us that indeed, we are truly sons and daughters of God. If we allow him to move us, we will move well. If we allow him to teach us, we will understand well; and if we allow him to inspire us, we shall achieve our goalsand aspirations, and be where Christ is today. Brethren, “What gives life is the Spirit, the flesh profits nothing” (Jn. 6: 63). So, each morning, when we wake up, we have the duty to invoke and ask the Holy Spirit to dwell in us, direct us and show us the best way to proceed in life. As we march towards the celebration of the great descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles on the day of Pentecost, let us start refocussing our minds on the importance and necessity of the Holy Spirit as our teacher and guide. Come, O Holy Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.