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?
Many people hope to leave behind some monetary wealth to ease their financial burdens of loved ones.
Maybe you are thinking about leaving behind some special mementos or some favorite photos 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 would like to share. (I’m trusting that the homilies on my website will be part of my legacy.)
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 mementos or photos. What was he leaving behind?
Well, first of all, he was leaving his disciples, and us, his teachings and his example. But there was more.
He would give his disciples, and us, a second gift, the gift of the Eucharist, his Body and Blood as our food and drink, and as his special presence to us.
And then he promised his disciples, including us, a third gift. He would send the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, the Advocate, who would:
give us courage
give us wisdom,
stand by us,
In our first reading it states that Peter and John laid hands upon the new Christian converts in Samaria and they received the Holy Spirit.
At an Ordination ceremony, the ordaining bishop places his hands upon the heads of those being ordained to receive the Holy Spirit. At a Confirmation ceremony, the bishop holds his hands over the confirmands and prays that they receive the Holy Spirit.
How often have you had hands laid upon you to receive the Holy Spirit? Actually, every time you go to Mass. At Mass the priest places his hands over the bread and wine 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. The bread and wine were first brought down the aisle. They represent all of us. The priest’s prayer asks the Holy Spirit to come upon all of us present and transform all of us more and more into the likeness of Christ.
Are we fearful? May the Spirit come upon us and transform us into a people of courage.
Are we weak? May the Spirit come upon us and transform us into a people totally committed.
Do we struggle with decisions? May the Spirit come
upon us and transform us into a people of wisdom, choosing rightly.
Are we insensitive? May the Spirit come upon us and transform us with a sympathetic and understanding heart.
Is there stagnation? May the Spirit come upon us and transform us into a people fully alive, always learning, growing and becoming all we were created to be.
Yes, change, transformation. We can’t say we weren’t warned. At the wedding feast of Cana, Jesus did his first miracle. What did he do? Changed water into wine. That was a sign that his mission was about transformation. The trnsformation of people.
It starts with the waters of Baptism. And it continues because of Jesus’ words and example, the gift of the Holy Eucharist, and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Transformation into the likeness of Christ, that we more and more think like Christ, speak like Christ, and act like Christ. The goal is to say with St. Paul, “I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).
Finally, Jesus said he would not leave us orphans. Orphans have no home.
Jesus tells us that our home is the heart of God. Let us say, “Yes,” “Amen,” and enter into that home. As baptized sons and daughters, that’s where we belong.