Monday of the 5th week of Eastertide
But even then he did not leave you without evidence of himself in the good things he does for you…
Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the realisation that even while your spirit is willing, the yoke of your flesh pulls you into despair? A friend recently shared with me that this Coronavirus ‘Circuit Breaker’ has resulted in him having no choice but to face up to the dysfunction of his family as everyone has had to work from home. The increased unwelcome but tolerated interaction with estranged family members under the same roof has added to his anxiety.
Living with his mum, who had adopted a new religion with daily chanting of Buddhist sutras and a home environment now oppressively filled with various religious paraphernalia, adds frustration to the fact that Masses in church have now ceased and he feels even more alone. With his personal space diminished, he shared that he felt torn between maintaining peace and harmony in the home, or fighting back with his faith as a sword.
The Gospel reading today reveals to us the confidence with which Jesus wants to impart to us about our unbreakable relationship with him, and through him, with God our Father.
“If anyone loves me he will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we shall come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:21:23)
We are not alone in striving for our relationship with God. The disciples had been given a love and promise that is visible to them even when Christ would no longer physically walk with them. The Holy Spirit is part of God’s elaborate and faithful plan — our Advocate who stands up for us between the gaps of hope and despair.
“I have said these things to you while still with you;
but the Advocate, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in my name,
will teach you everything
and remind you of all I have said to you.” (John 21:25-26)
God more than provides, as we are reminded by Paul and Barnabas in the first reading. He is the one true God whose goodness resides not in living idols of flesh or stone. Our God is a living God who made the heavens, the earth, and sea, and the mystery of the material realm which we behold. Something as simple yet enduring as the rains that fall after a dry spell, the sun rising from the east unfailing daily, and an incredibly mesmerising sunset or rainbow – these are some of the evidence God has written into natural law to remind us of his covenant.
At our hour of need, the Holy Spirit will stand firm with and for us. We only need to reach up with childlike faith to say, “Lord, let your will be done through me, in me.” In praying for courage and wisdom, we will find a Christ-like way to respond from moment to moment.
For those of us who struggle to keep on loving the people who hurt us most, the Holy Spirit will never leave you but always advocate for you. Seek, and you shall see. I hope you keep well and stay close to God who loves you very much and never forsakes.
(Today’s Oxygen by Debbie Loo)
Prayer: We pray for all who are suffering in difficult families, in unhealthy relationships, or experiencing various domestic distress and abuse. While we may not see the carefully hidden burden of hurt that some carry, we intercede for them in their painful moments. Lord, hear our prayers.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all the times we have unknowingly received the protection and intercession of others’ prayers for us. Thank you God for sending us your Holy Spirit who protects, who endures, and who is steadfast beside us at all times.