Fifth Sunday of Easter 2017

Bible Text: John 16:5-15 | Preacher: Rev. Alan Kornacki Jr. | Series: 2017

ALLELUIA! CHRIST IS RISEN! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

When our Lord Jesus ascended into heaven, the question in the minds of the disciples was not “Where are You going?” but “What’s going to happen to us?” And so, just before He ascended, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” You can see, then, that the disciples were focusing not on our Lord, but on themselves; not on how He was helping them, but on what would happen next. To this day, that is still our question. For we don’t ask, “Where is the Lord so that I might be there with Him?” We do not ask, “How can I attain His kingdom?” We do not even ask, “How does His death and resurrection—how does His love for me—change the way I live and how I treat others?” For to ask those questions is to think of our Lord and His Church and His life lived for us and in us. Instead, we think of ourselves.

And this is why our hearts are quite often filled with sorrow. For we are convinced that God is getting back at us, or that He’s meanly testing us, or that He’s forgotten us. In fact, we’re so convinced of this that it takes all our effort—and, indeed, more effort than we possess—to live the life of Christ within us by suppressing our appetites, by denying ourselves sensual pleasures, by sacrificing our time in prayer, by holding our tongue, by living only for others, and by coming before the Lord to worship Him. These are the hardest things for us to do day in and day out. And it’s all because we don’t ask, “Where are You going—and how can I be there with You?”

Yet even though we are selfish, our Lord still gives of Himself. Even though we refuse to live a life of self-denial and prayer, our Lord still has mercy. And even though we only come to God when we’re desperate, our Lord does not shun us or neglect us. Instead, He sends us the Helper, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, the Lord and Giver of Life. Such is the love of God for us. He does not leave us orphans. He does not leave us without hope or comfort. He does not leave us wallowing in our self-pity and misery. And He doesn’t leave us to our own schemes. For it is our own plans and purposes—the false belief that we can make do, that we can deserve the Lord’s love, that we can be like God knowing good and evil, that our riches matter, that the life we live is good enough—it is this pride and self-belief that truly leaves us comfortless and standing outside the kingdom. And the Holy Spirit comes to show us how miserable and pathetic we really are when we believe in ourselves and make our own way.

But then this same Spirit, who tells you the truth about yourself, comes to you, to guide you into the fullness of truth. In other words, He guides you right into the arms of your heavenly Father in the embrace of your Holy Mother, the Church. For in the Church—not just this little parish, but in the communion of the godly and faithful, which we call the Communion of Saints—this is where the Way, the Truth, and the Life are declared and given to you.

There is much more that can be said, both about our life in God, and about the way the Holy Spirit works that life into us. But for now, let us be content with what our Lord’s Spirit has given us at this time. Even this little crumb is more than enough to satisfy our hunger and thirst for righteousness. And let us also be content that the Lord’s Spirit will continue to guide us into all truth—perhaps in ways that may shock or surprise us. For who are we, that we can determine the mind of God or even see what happens next? Instead, let us simply be content to ask the Lord Jesus, “Where are you going? Where are you taking us?”—and then follow Him in the faith that forsakes all so that we might attain the Kingdom of God. ALLELUIA! CHRIST IS RISEN! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! In the name of the Father and of the Son (+) and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always. Amen.