Life and Soul

Word this week

The Holy Trinity (1738–9) by Luca Rossetti da Orta in San Gaudenzio, Ivrea, Italy

Sixth Sunday of Easter
Acts 15:1-2 & 22-29; Rev 21:10-14 & 22-23; Jn 14:23-29

“If anyone loves me he will keep my word, and the Father will love him, and we shall come to him, and make our home with him.”

These words of Jesus describe, at the very deepest level, what it is to live as a disciple of Jesus, and what it is to become his Church. This truth, first revealed when the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, brought light to darkened hearts. Throughout his ministry, as Jesus shared his table with tax collectors and sinners, healed the sick and welcomed the weary, a new hope began to dawn. Distanced lives began to believe that in Christ sin was no longer a hindrance to the presence of God.

Through his death and Resurrection, and through the gift of the Holy Spirit, this hope became the reality of every believer. Jesus, who had been God’s living presence in a sinful world, made of us his dwelling place.

It is hardly surprising that we should struggle to comprehend what Jesus had meant by describing us as the dwelling place of Father and Son. Jesus had anticipated this in his promise that the Holy Spirit, sent by the Father in his name, would remind us of all he had said to us.

It is through a faith of trust and love that we become God’s dwelling place. Such love is not mere sentiment, it is the surrender of our very selves to the presence of Christ. It is in such love that we, who were made for love, are redeemed.

St John’s vision of the heavenly Jerusalem, the Holy City come down to earth, brings this promise to its glorious conclusion. Here God’s radiant glory is described as shining forth with the splendour of precious stones.

While our imaginations will always fall short of the glory that this vision seeks to describe, there is something within us that begins to glimpse its meaning. We begin to understand that when we, both as individuals and as a Church, are brought to life in the love of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, then our lives begin to witness to a glory far greater than our own. People are attracted to an inner light that is Christ’s presence within us. We ourselves, unworthy as we are, become the radiant glory of God and the Lamb who has chosen us as his dwelling place.

As Pentecost approaches, let us pray that the Holy Spirit might awaken within us a deeper understanding of what we are called to become as the dwelling place of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.