Today I have the honor of conducting my first communion service with the lovely residents of The Highlands in Westboro, MA. I used to be afraid to be with the elderly. Perhaps it reminded me too much of my own mortality which I was not ready to think about. Since my mother died 4 years ago I’ve thought about it a lot. Getting older means the body is gradually (or quickly) breaking down and you have to keep bidding farewell to parts of yourself. But it also means you’re one step closer to a life of eternal bliss with God.
Getting there however can be quite a challenge, coping with pain, loneliness and a litany of goodbyes. I’ve come to appreciate what the elderly go through and no longer feel afraid. I am looking forward to my time today with my new friends at The Highlands.
I am thankful to my parish, St. Luke the Evangelist and to our parish nurse, Julie Basque, for affording me this opportunity.
The communion service includes a reflection on today’s gospel which I thought I’d share with you
The discourse in John 14-17 between Jesus and his disciples is one of the most poignant in the entire Bible. Jesus, fully mindful of the dreadful suffering he would be facing, pours out his heart to the men who have been his closest friends. It was an intimate moment where he told them not to let their hearts be troubled even as his heart was troubled. He assures them of a place in heaven reserved especially for each of them. The human Jesus and the Divine Christ, present in this fixed time yet also present for eternity transcended his own inner turmoil to care for his beloved.
The Father is in the Son. The Son is the physical manifestation of the Father. The disciples have been seeing the Father all along and yet they didn’t get it. The Father has been speaking to them, caring for them, assuring them a place in heaven and yet they still don’t understand. It will take seeing Jesus resurrected for them to finally comprehend just who has been in their midst
As the Father is shown through the Son, so the Father is shown through us as well. We are made in the image of God, we are icons: windows into the heavenly Father. Because Jesus died and rose from the dead we too have the Divine in our humanity through the presence of God’s Holy Spirit.
In the midst of the turmoil of his own soul, Jesus sought to reassure his disciples. In the darkest moment of his life he still steps outside of himself and cares for his beloved friends. He never forgets us. Even dying on the cross, he does not forget, forgiving his tormentors, welcoming the thief into heaven and arranging for the care of his mother with John. It is in this care for others in Jesus’ darkest hour that shows the Father to the disciples and to the world.
How can we call upon the Divine within us to step outside of ourselves even in our darkest hour and care for those around us?
Jesus, may I never forget you in my darkest hour. May I never let the wall of my pain shut you out. Help me to show the Father to those around me at all times. Amen
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