Spirituality of the Readings
Remembering the Truth
Nostalgia sells. Radio stations blast out “oldies,” television endlessly recalls shows from Jack Benny to Leave it to Beaver to I Love Lucy to M*A*S*H to … well, you fill in the blanks.
It is a human thing to remember the spirit of the past. We do it in part to understand better who we are and how we got that way. It is not all media hype, designed to “sell product,” though some of it is. Hype, hype, hype. Yet much of what our nostalgia dredges up is actually good, and remains so. Under God’s impetus we recall what it means to be a Christian.
Especially in Easter season, we sit around the campfire of our memories, telling stories. Remember Philip who said to Jesus, “just show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Of course he was in the process at that very moment of seeing Jesus and therefore of seeing the Father, but did not know it.
One person moves closer to the campfire and says, “Do you remember Jesus’ words just before his passion and death? That he would send the Spirit of Truth into our hearts. And we would not be left orphans. It was hard to understand then and it is still pretty tough.”
Someone stammers, “L-- L- Let us go over it one more time.”
A brave one tries to sum it up. “First, Jesus seemed to say, ‘God the Abba is so much within me that every time you see me it is the same thing as seeing God.
“‘Second, he said, ‘I am going to apply that same understanding to you! I will be so much within you—yes, you normal people—that when anyone sees you it will be the same thing as seeing me!
“‘And of course, since the Father is in me, they will know the Father too!’”
Philip gulped. “I, I almost have it. Maybe. Or maybe not. Please try it again.”
“Ok.” Jesus said, “I am going back to the Father, back to the one who sent me. The world will not see me any more. But that doesn’t make me absent from you. I and Abba will be within you so that your very insides will be one with the Spirit of me and of the Father. Let me put it simply:
“Who sees me
sees the Father.
“Who sees you
Philip saw daylight. He was touched by the truth. Look at him in the First Reading. He leaves the fireside of memories and begins running from place to place doing miracles and preaching about the Messiah!
With one accord, the crowds paid attention to
what was said by Philip, when they heard it
and saw the signs he was doing.
For, unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice,
came out of many possessed people,
and many paralyzed or crippled people were cured.
There was great joy in that city.
Do you also see daylight, at least on some days? Do you say yes to Christ’s presence in you? Do you touch and receive Jesus on your tongue at Mass and let yourself be merged with Christ today? Do you say “yes,” or is there too much “no”? If the latter, read Sunday’s readings again.
Well, maybe it is simple. Just receive and love.
John Foley, SJ
Fr. John Foley, SJ is a composer and scholar at Saint Louis University.
**From Saint Louis University