The Communion Antiphon on Sunday, the 6th of Easter, re-engaged us with the Gospel of the day, and reminded of the approach of Pentecost, and the fulfilment of the Lord’s promise to his faithful disciples.
If you love me, keep my commandments, says the Lord,
and I will ask the Father and he will send you another Paraclete,
to abide with you for ever, alleluia.
Jn 14: 15-16
However more than simply reminding of an historical promised fulfilled in a particular event, ie the first Pentecost, the antiphon also reminds of what seems a characteristic feature of God’s dealing with us. Namely, that God will not be outdone in goodness and love.
The Holy Spirit is gifted because the disciples – confused etc (as they seemingly and unsurprisingly were) – strove to keep the Lord’s commandments. Their obedient striving did not earn God’s greater favour. Obedience to the loving Creator is right and its own reward. But it can be costly, difficult: such is the burden of our fallibility, frailty and sometime sinfulness.
And, again and again, God’s response to our trying – a trying which is not always a succeeding – is the gift of grace added to grace. In our time and across all time, responding in the lives of individuals and communities, God draws us into a new and deeper dwelling with him.
He abides with us, personally, that we might abide with him.
Detail of The Disputation of the Holy Sacrament by Raphael. Vatican Palace. (c) 2016, Allen Morris.