Updated: May 17, 2020
6th Sunday of Easter, Year A
9-12 year olds
(Begin by reading the Gospel. Sometimes it is good to have someone read it to you. The Word is meant to be heard.)
This Gospel for this Sunday picks up where we left off last Sunday in the long conversation that Jesus has with his disciples at the Last Supper. Jesus knows that his disciples do not want him to leave, and so Jesus reassures them that,
“I will not leave you orphaned”
Jesus tells them of the coming gift of the Holy Spirit,
“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.”
Here again, like last week, we see that the world needs sacrament. The world cannot receive the Spirit of truth without seeing. The world knows through its senses, so how can it receive the Spirit who is invisible? But because the disciples have known Jesus, they can receive the Spirit. Having the Spirit in themselves, they can make Jesus known to the world. Through them, the world can see Jesus, and the world can then receive the Spirit.
Throughout this conversation that Jesus has with the disciples, I notice that he slips back and forth between present and future:
“I will ask...”
“I will not leave...”
“I am coming...”
“I will love...”
It seems like, as the time for his death approaches, Jesus moves in time in a more fluid way.
I am particularly interested in verses 19 and 20:
“In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.”
"On that day," Jesus says. Which day? When is this day?
"In a little while the world will no longer see me..." I think we can take that to mean the time after Jesus dies and rises to new life. We know that the disciples see Jesus alive after the Resurrection, but not everyone sees him. So, perhaps, Jesus is referring to the Day of the Resurrection. On the day that Jesus appears to his disciples after his Resurrection, they will know...
But do they know on that day? When we read the accounts of the Resurrection, do we see the women know that Jesus is in them? How is Jesus in them on the day of the Resurrection? I wonder, then, if Jesus is speaking of a different day. I wonder if he is speaking of the Day of Pentecost, when the disciples and Mary receive the Holy Spirit as tongues of fire and begin to speak in other languages. On that day, they know the Spirit of Jesus is truly in them.
Jesus says, "because I live, you also will live..." They will live because Jesus lives. When he says this at the Last Supper, the disciples are already living. Jesus, the man, did not cause them to live, so I wonder if Jesus is speaking about a different kind of life. Perhaps he is speaking of his Risen Life. Because Jesus rises to new life, filled with the Risen Life of God, the disciples also will get to share in the Risen life. Perhaps, then, Jesus is speaking of the Day of the Disciples' Own Death and Resurrection.
By our Baptism, we also share in the Risen life of Jesus. We will live, because Jesus lives. So, maybe the day that Jesus is speaking of is the Day of Our Baptism. Or, it could be the Day that We Die and Rise to New Life with him. On that day, we shall know that Jesus is in the Father, and we in him, and he in us.
But don't we know that already? Don't we know that Jesus is in God? Don't we know that we are in Jesus and Jesus is in us? He tells us the Parable of the True Vine saying he is the vine and we are the branches. A vine is made up entirely of branches. Cut away the branches, and there is no vine. Christ has no body here, but ours. We are in Jesus.
We know that the sap of the Vine, that Risen life of Jesus, that Spirit of truth that the world cannot receive, flows throughout each one of us. The branches of the vine are connected to Jesus and to each other because of that Spirit of truth in us. Jesus is in us.
If we know this already, is Jesus speaking about Today?
So which day is it? The day of the Resurrection, the day of Pentecost, the day when the disciples rise to new life, the day of our baptism, the day we rise to new life, or today?
Or can it be that Jesus means all of these?
Perhaps it is as if there is a golden thread that links all these moments in time, drawing them together. Or like each moment in time is written on tracing paper, and laid on top of each other, so that we can see all the moments at the same time--each moment somehow alike, but different in its own way. Is this how God sees time? What can we learn from this?
I am reminded of the prayer that is said just before the Paschal candle is lit for the first time at the Easter Vigil:
yesterday and today,
the Beginning and the End,
and the Omega.
All time belongs to him
and all the ages.
To him be glory and power
through every age and for ever.
On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.”
And when, when shall all Creation know this?
So, those moments when we know--
when we know we are in Jesus,
when we know Jesus is in us,
and when we know Jesus is in God the Father--
perhaps time is blending again.
Perhaps we are getting a glimpse of that Day.