The story is told that after Helen Keller’s teacher, Annie Sullivan, had given her the names of physical objects in sign language, Miss Sullivan attempted to explain God and tapped out the symbols for the name "God." Much to Miss Sullivan’s surprise, Helen spelled back, "Thank you for telling me God’s name, Teacher, for He has touched me many times before." How could Helen Keller have known about God? Although she was blind and deaf, Helen Keller knew God, for God had shown Himself to her. That is “revelation” of an indwelling God about whom today’s Scripture readings speak.
Easter season readings prepare us to celebrate Ascension of the Lord and Pentecost. Each weekend reading from the Acts of the Apostles give us a glimpse of the life of the early Church. The members of the early Christian communities were from Jews and gentiles. The first reading, tells us the great internal struggle of the Early Church and how the Holy Spirit indwelling in the Church helped the apostles to solve a major doctrinal problem about the Gentiles becoming Christians, which shook the very foundation of the early Church. The ancient Jews had a particular culture that the first Christians realized was not their culture.
The Gospel passage reminds us that the Holy Spirit, abiding within us, is our teacher and the source of all peace. The passage offers a vision of hope. The gospel passage tells us about love and his indwelling presence. One thing we know about love is that lovers want to be with each other. But Jesus is not physically present. We cannot physically see him or touch him. How can you love an absent Jesus? This is what today’s gospel is all about. In the gospel Jesus prepares his disciples, those who love him, for his departure from this world and shows them how they can keep love and intimacy alive even in his physical absence. Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.
Jesus promises his followers that the Holy Spirit will come and instruct them in everything they need to know. In the first reading Apostles and other leaders were struggling to make decision. We see the Holy Spirit guiding them in that decision making. We read, “It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden…” Let us invite the Holy Spirit in our daily life, to our joys and sorrows; our strengths and weakness. Jesus told Apostles, and today to us, “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.”
This weekend we also celebrate Memorial Day. Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. Let us hold them in our prayers. At the same time let us remember all those who are serving to keep us safe.
Happy Memorial Day!!