Last week the Gospel lent itself to reflecting on the topic of loneliness, which is certainly a pertinent topic in our society today. And, so again, this weekend it does. Pretty much everyone has felt lonely, rejected, or abandoned by friends or loved ones at some point in their lives. Most of us have felt fearful, wondering how we will make it through rough times with our children or parents, siblings, or friends.
We suffer personal loss or illness and wonder if we will be able to go on. And certainly as we find ourselves trying to navigate through the remnants of this strange new world after COVID 19, we need today’s Gospel message that tells us -- in the midst of our “lost-ness”…in the midst of our loneliness…in the midst of the fear of what may lay ahead -- that we are never truly alone, we are not abandoned, for the Risen Christ remains with us, always.
When I was little, I used to think that Christ was with me, but only when I was doing something good or only in holy or sacred places. How wrong I was! In today’s Gospel Jesus tries to help his disciples understand that no matter what or how they feel….no matter where they go, he will be with them. And, even more, the Holy Spirit will be given to them and find a resting place within them.
We are the inheritors of this same promise. We are never alone, never abandoned! Our God is always with us. Even when we can’t feel that presence or sense it, God is with us.
Even in the midst of our worst moments, our most selfish actions; even in the midst of our greatest sin, God is present and loving us through that dark moment. And of course, that means that God too is present in and with “the other,” even in their worst moments, in the midst of their most selfish actions!
God’s presence is not dependent on our actions, we do not control God’s presence! No matter how desperate our situation is, God is with us…loving us in the midst of it all.
The real question then seems to be: so what will my response be to that loving indwelling of the Divine presence within me, and within “the other”?
How do I share God’s love with the immigrant, the refugee, the marginalized, the one who is hated or despised because of their nationality or because of the color of their skin, or looked down upon because they are a woman? How do I recognize and value the one who is “other” than me? What is the Holy Spirit calling me to…or away from in my life?