I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
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 in the 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.
Send us your Spirit.
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
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
When you are close to Christ, you are enclosed in liberty. You can never be intimidated by man if you are intimate with Christ.
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 ardour of their hearts has been able to create a higher ideal of man and of virtue than the ideal given by Christ of old.
The price is certainly high for people who don’t know Christ and who live in a world where Christians shrink back from self-denying faith and settle into self-indulging faith. While Christians choose to spend their lives fulfilling the American dream instead of giving their lives to proclaiming the kingdom of God, literally billions in need of the Gospel remain in the dark.
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
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.
Teresa of Avila