Sunday is the 6th Sunday of Easter, the last before the feast of the Ascension and three before the great and last feast of Easter, Pentecost.
It is a time for taking stock, for knowing afresh the power of the Lord of love, and considering, honestly, how that loveliness lives in us.
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘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.
Those who do not love me do not keep my words.
And my word is not my own:
it is the word of the one who sent me.
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.
Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you,
a peace the world cannot give,
this is my gift to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me say: I am going away, and shall return.
If you loved me you would have been glad to know that I am going to the Father,
for the Father is greater than I.
I have told you this now before it happens,
so that when it does happen you may believe.’
That taking stock can be a little depressing when we recognise our faults and failings and again regret them.
The Evil One seeks to exploit that gap, focus in our our failings, and our regrets; to dis-spirit us, to make us doubt our calling, our ability and most powerfully of all doubt God’s continued love for us. The Evil One wants nothing more for us to give up; dull and then silence our regrets; stop trying; cease to be.
The Gospel frustrates his plans and strengthens us. Jesus came for us; died and rose for us, conquering sin and death. He came and comes – in word and Sacrament – to sustain us, the walking wounded – wounded, yes, but walking and beloved of God. He came and comes not for the healthy (and by the way, where are they?) but for the sick.
Our regrets? Treasure them, and let them bring us back and closer to the Lord our God, our healer, our salvation.
Fresco, S. Maria in Cosmedin, Rome. (c) 2016, Allen Morris