Today's gospel got me thinking about a "last will and testament." Have you given much thought to what you would like to leave behind when you die?
Very likely you hope to have some monetary wealth to pass out among your loved ones to ease their financial burdens.
Maybe you are thinking about some special mementos you could give away or some favorite photos to pass out so people would not forget you.
Perhaps you are thinking of some words of wisdom you would like to impart on your deathbed, or some final words of love and affection you will want to share.
In today's gospel Jesus was talking about what he would leave behind. After his death and resurrection, he would ascend back to his Father. He was not leaving any money behind, or photos or mementos. Instead what he was leaving his followers was a lot of teachings, and his example for sure. But there was more. On that first Holy Thursday evening, when these words in John's gospel were spoken, Jesus said he would not leave us orphans. (cf. John 14:18)
He would give us two gifts. First, the gift of the Eucharist, his body and blood as our food, his special presence to us. And then he promised his followers, including us, that he would send a Paraclete, an advocate, the Holy Spirit who would
speak in our behalf,
stand by us,
give us courage and strength,
and love us.
At this time of year, second graders usually receive their First Communion. They experience Jesus' love for them and Jesus' desire to be with them. Also around this time, junior high and high school students experience the Sacrament of Confirmation,
receiving the Holy Spirit as they complete their initiation into the Christian community. This is a sacred time, a holy time in our parishes, as the promises of Jesus are fulfilled in our midst.
In our first reading today it states that Peter and John imposed hands upon the new Christian converts in Samaria and they received the Holy Spirit. Young people will have hands imposed upon them by a Bishop when they are confirmed.
How often do we have hands imposed upon us? Actually, every Sunday. Bread and wine are brought forward during the preparation of the gifts. The bread and wine represent each one here. The priest imposes his hands upon the bread and wine and therefore upon all present, asking God the Father to send the Holy Spirit upon these gifts and change them. Change the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. Change all of us in whatever way we need to become more fully like Christ.
Change can be uncomfortable. We become accustomed to certain ways of thinking, speaking and acting.
The Mass challenges us to examine our thinking, and see if our minds are according to the mind of Christ.
The Mass challenges us to examine our speaking and see if our words are the words that Christ would speak.
The Mass challenges us to examine our actions and see if they are in accord with the way Jesus acted while here on earth.
May the Holy Spirit come upon us and change us more fully into the body of Christ here today.
Are we fearful? May the Spirit come upon us and change us into a people of courage.
Are we hesitant? May the Spirit come upon us and change us into people totally committed.
Are there lies? May the Spirit come upon us and change us into people who always speak truth.
Is there unforgiveness? May the Spirit come upon us and change us into an understanding and forgiving people.
Is there stagnation? May the Spirit change us into a people fully alive, always learning, growing and becoming all we were created to be.
Jesus did not leave us orphans. Orphans have no home.
Jesus tells us that our home is in the heart of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Let us say yes, "Amen," and enter.
The Lord is with us.