What a very real and authentic way to conclude the days of Easter before Pentecost. Peter, in today’s gospel, looks over his shoulder and sees the beloved disciple. What, he asks, will become of him?
How often we look over our shoulder at the next person and wonder about them. What are they about in their relationship with Christ, how faithful are they, how gifted and how generous? We compare and we judge.
Jesus’ response is so telling. What difference is it to you what I will do with that one? You need only to be about the business of following me! Get your eyes off the other person, comparing yourself and judging others and set your eyes on me. Get your hearts, mind and energy wrapped up in hearing my voice, embracing my commands and following my kingdom way.
This is the first and most essential work of the Spirit in us. One of the gospel options for Pentecost Sunday (John 15:26-27, 16:12-15) gives beautiful expression to this. “When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me…he will guide you to all truth…he will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.”
I am reminded again of the great German biblical scholar, Rudolf Schnackenburg, who after a lifetime of rigorist study of the gospels, declared that the one essential truth permeating the whole of Sacred Scripture is that God seeks to live in friendship with human beings. “I no longer call you slaves, but I call you friends.”
The Holy Spirit nurtures in us a divine affection for Jesus Christ, the deep-seated desire to follow Jesus as Lord and as our dearest friend. The Holy Spirit sets our eyes, indeed our very lives, on Jesus Christ, the Risen Lord!
Let us pray:
grant that the splendor of your glory
may shine forth upon us
and that, by the bright rays of the Holy Spirit,
the light of your light may confirm our hearts
in affection for your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ,
one God with you and the Holy Spirit
forever and ever. Amen.
(adapted from the Roman Missal)