Taste and See: in the Spirit

Disputation detail

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.

Speak Lord: of the glory of your children

Raphael CrucifixionThe Second reading at Mass on Sunday, the 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time, begins a sequence of readings from the Letter to the Hebrews, which will take us through to the end of this Liturgical Year.

The Letter explores the meaning of Jesus for the Christian, and how our faith in Jesus relates to the faith in YHWH, God, and the Jewish cult.

We see in Jesus one who was for a short while made lower than the angels and is now crowned with glory and splendour because he submitted to death; by God’s grace he had to experience death for all mankind.

As it was his purpose to bring a great many of his sons into glory, it was appropriate that God, for whom everything exists and through whom everything exists, should make perfect, through suffering, the leader who would take them to their salvation. For the one who sanctifies, and the ones who are sanctified, are of the same stock; that is why he openly calls them brothers.

Hebrews 2:9-11

Jesus brings to fulfilment, perfectly achieving, all that was looked for in Judaism. He is Son of God, and he is, in his humanity, the perfect respondent to the law of God.

And the maybe more startling thing is that this is for us, to share with us what God longs to share.

  • How do you live communion with God today?
  • How might you share it with others?

The Crucifixion by Raphael, in the collection of the National Gallery, London.