God’s Life-Giving Spirit Is With Us
The readings for the liturgy this Sunday couldn’t be more suited to our present moment of uncertainty, sorrow, and grief. In fact, sections of this Sunday’s Gospel reading from John are among the options for funeral liturgies. It was an inspired suggestion that came from one of the friars to tape the video reflection for this week in the Mission cemetery.
The Good News that runs like a glowing thread through each of the readings is that for us as disciples of Jesus, whenever the realities of suffering, death, loss, and grief meet what Father Larry calls the “threshold” moments of our communal lives, God’s life-giving Spirit is present at the nexus. Our encounter with COVID-19 is just such a threshold moment. God’s life-giving Spirit is with us. Just as it drove Jesus to the desert in Matthew’s Gospel at the starting point of his public ministry, it drives Jesus to the tomb of Lazarus at the climactic point of his self-revelation in the Gospel of John.
Hearing this Gospel coupled with the Prophet Ezekiel and St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, it’s as though we are being propelled through Lent, past Easter, all the way to Pentecost, where in John’s account, the power of love bursts through thresholds where doors were not only closed, but locked by fear.
Ezekiel speaks to a community in exile; Paul speaks of the majesty of God, whose grace binds us to Jesus Christ and whose love encompasses life, death and all of created reality; and the Gospel from John dramatizes all of this in the journey to the tomb of Lazarus where we hear the divine summons: Come forth from the tomb and rise to new life. Life in the Spirit is a living invitation to enter a new creation, one fashioned by God’s own hand, according to the pattern of Christ himself from the first moment of creation.
May God bring us peace in the knowledge and power of his Word and Spirit!
Fr. Dan ofm, Pastor