Acts 22:30; 23:6-11
We Share and Are Sharers of the Father’s Glory
Today’s gospel gives us the concluding words of Jesus at the Last Supper. They have been part of a 3day reflection that we might compare with the beginning of John’s gospel.
The prologue of the gospel tells us that Jesus existed from all time with the Father. The Father and Jesus have an intimacy described as the inexpressible intimacy of a nursing mother with her child. We hear now that Jesus who has been in the world (the place not full of God’s love), has loved his disciples. The hour has arrived; Passion begins, and the work of Jesus will be accomplished: The Father’s love will be revealed to the disciples. As Jesus is one with the Father, so the disciples are one with Jesus, he is ‘the way’ that all may be one as he and the Father are one.
The church fathers who describe the Trinity as a dance use a metaphor that rings true. There is something of that dance these past three days and it includes the disciples! This is appropriate because Jesus tells us, ‘I have given them the glory you gave me that they may be one, as we are one – I living in them, you living in me….Father, all those you gave me I would have in my company where I am, to see this glory of mine which is your gift to me, because of the love you bore me before the world began (17:22-24).
We remain in the world and now are privileged to share the work of the One with whom we share life and intimacy. Partners in the Dance, we now invite others to join us.
A final word on this day must include the Saint who is honored, Ephrem, a deacon and Doctor of the Church. He is known as the "Harp of the Spirit". As we have heard of the mystery of God described as ‘dance’, it is Ephrem who sings the praises of the Holy Spirit not only in his insightful theology but most beautifully in his poetry.
In your Bread there is hidden the Spirit who is not consumed,
in you Wine there dwells the fire that is not drunk:
The Spirit is in your Bread, the Fire in your Wine
a manifest wonder, which our lips have received.
(Sebastian Brock, The Holy Spirit in the Syrian Baptismal Tradition)
Ephrem talks of the presence and action of the Spirit in the Eucharist. He uses the imagery of the Spirit and the energy of fire. Ephrem ponders how we in our humble humanity can experience this exchange with the divine. It is the work of God manifest in Jesus through the continual presence and activity of the Spirit among us. (Liturgical Ministry, Fall 2010, Mark Morozowick)
Saturday evening we will celebrate the Vigil of Pentecost. All the partners will be at the dance, and we who are left alone in the world, know we are not alone as we will do the work of Jesus with the energy of fire, the Holy Spirit.
Fr. William Murphy, CP is pastor of St. Joseph’s Monastery parish in Baltimore, Maryland.