May 17

Reflection

I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
John 14:15-21

I will not leave you orphaned.” At some point we all want or even need to hear these words. They speak directly to some of our greatest fears and challenges; abandonment and isolation, loneliness, vulnerability. They remind us that we are not destined to walk this earth without an identity or direction. We do not stand alone.

To be sure there are seasons of life, moments, when the transitions, changes, and tragedies can leave us feeling as orphans. Whether spoken or unspoken the questions begin. What will I do now? Where do I go? What happens next? Who will love, nurture, and guide me? Who stands on my side? What will become of me? Those are the orphan’s questions. Those are the questions I imagine running through the heads and hearts of the disciples into gospel.

We fear becoming orphaned. That fear points to the deeper reality that by ourselves we are not enough… We were created to love and be loved, to live in relationship as persons giving themselves to each other, to dwell, abide, and remain within each other.

“I will not leave you orphaned.”

According to Jesus the answer to that question is determined by love that is revealed and fulfilled in keeping his commandments. The commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves, to love our enemies, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Michael Marsh

Prayer

Send us your Spirit.

Action

What are the boundaries of our love? Is our love growing, expanding, transformative of ourselves and the world? Do we remain self-enclosed and isolated? If so, we relegate ourselves and each other to the orphanages of this world

Suggested Reading

Jesus said to his disciples:
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
And I will ask the Father,
and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always,
the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept,
because it neither sees nor knows him.
But you know him, because he remains with you,
and will be in you.
I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
John 14:15 – 21

Let us all remember this: one cannot proclaim the gospel of Jesus without the tangible witness of one’s life.
Pope Francis

If Christ Jesus dwells in a man as his friend and noble leader, that man can endure all things, for Christ helps and strengthens us and never abandons us. He is a true friend.
Saint Teresa of Avila

To be a disciple meant to follow after. What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus? It means to take seriously what he took seriously, to be like him in some sense. It is what St. Paul meant when he said, Be imitators of Christ. What Jesus was like as a figure of history becomes a model of discipleship, illuminating and incarnating the vision of life to which he called his followers
Marcus Borg

When you are close to Christ, you are enclosed in liberty. You can never be intimidated by man if you are intimate with Christ.
Israelmore Ayivor

The most common one-liner in the Bible is, “Do not be afraid.” Someone counted, and it occurs 365 times.
Richard Rohr

Becoming like Jesus is as much as about having a relaxed and joyful heart as it is about believing and doing the right thing, as much about proper energy as about proper truth.
Ronald Rolheiser

Even those who have renounced Christianity and attack it, in their inmost being still follow the Christian ideal, for hitherto neither their subtlety nor the ardor of their hearts has been able to create a higher ideal of man and of virtue than the ideal given by Christ of old.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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