Monday, 5/11/20: The Dwelling Place
Updated: May 16, 2020
Have you ever seen a friendship that you wanted to be a part of? Imagine two friends who were very close where that friendship seemed perfect. There's an attractive beauty to the best of friendships. When looking upon it from the outside, we're drawn to approach, and if possible, become "insiders" to that friendship.
In our Gospel passage today (John 14:21-26), Jesus speaks of this possibility with regard to the relationship that he has with his Father. Yesterday, I mentioned that the disciples were saddened by the imminent departure of Jesus. But he promised them that he would gather them again to bring them to a place that he had prepared for them himself. That place of gathering is nowhere other than that relationship between the Father and the Son.
Jesus departs to return to the Father, and he will bring them to himself. There's a certain mystery to this. Where is this place of relationship between Father and Son? Today, Jesus tells us: "We [the Father and Son] will come to him and make our dwelling with him," referring to anyone who loves and keeps the word of Jesus. This will happen through the Holy Spirit who will overshadow the disciples, transforming them into the Body of Christ, the Church.
There's a profound "nearness" or "here-ness" (I'm struggling for a word) to the existence and presence of God, for the believer. The Holy Spirit consecrates the believer (at Baptism and then sealed at Confirmation), which makes the believer into a dwelling place for the Father and Son (this is a leit motif in the New Testament, which I'll refer to again when the daily Mass readings give occasion). They become a place of encounter between Father and Son. That relationship is lived within the believer.
Also, from an angle not mutually exclusive to that former point, just as the Holy Spirit is the Divine Love that eternally unites and "moves" between Father and Son, the Holy Spirit makes the disciple a "way" of loving for the Father and Son (this has to be explained so as not be misunderstood, which I hope to expound further in a later post should the daily readings prompt). This isn't because God needs us in any way to exist or to interact with himself. Nor do we by our own design influence the divine. This happens purely out of God's superabundance of love. It is God's desire, not need, from which comes the gracious invitation to enter into this dynamic. We are earthen vessels, true; and we carry within us a transcendent power that belongs to God and not to us (cf. 2 Cor. 4:7).
Antonio de Pereda, The Holy Trinity; retrieved from
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4e/Antonio_de_Pereda_y_Salgado_-_The_Holy_Trinity_-_WGA17176.jpg w/text overlay