May 17, 2014 5th Sunday of Easter
This week end we are honoring our High school and college graduates. I suspect you graduating seniors know you are standing in a double doorway. One door is closing and you can’t stop it while another door is simultaneously opening. And you can’t go back!
Many emotions are running through our minds. But you are not at all alone. Your teachers, those known as your parents, family, friends, even us folks at Church and your family who are looking down from heaven are caught up in the reality one can not turn back the clock.
Today’s scriptures are focused on this same reality. Even Jesus Christ and His disciples had to face the reality it was time for him to leave.
Do not let your hearts be troubled:
Jesus knew one day he must confront his disciples with this reality. When one knows this is our last time together, one chooses the most valuable and wisest words they have to offer. “Do not let you hearts be troubled.” I have to go Home! We know these words we have lived them. Your Father who loves you sent His Son to tell you. It is time for me to go home. “Do not let you hearts be troubled.” I am going to prepare a place for you! And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to myself.
What you young people don’t know and even the disciples didn’t understand is that you are far more prepared than you know. Remember Jesus words. Amen, Amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.
Jesus had to leave them alone, for the power of the spirit planted within their soul to be unleashed and lead them to discover the spirit within that will lead them home.
The Holy Spirit finds ways to teach us this truth through many ways if only we open our spiritual eyes and ears. While I was in the diaconate formation program the good Lord placed me as a witness to the workings of His spirit.
Parkinson’s, Loss of Hearing and Alzheimers:
Put on your spiritual ears!
My dad had six brothers and they lived in the second largest Belgium settlement in the USA. My dad told many stories about when he was a boy. He and his brothers got into confrontations with young men of other nationalities around the neighborhood. When one brother got in over his head, the call would go out, Chuck, Al, Fred, Rudy, Zuke, and Ernie and the cavalry would soon arrive. Mt dad and his brother Al played high school basketball together. They were best men at each others weddings. They lived and raised their families in the same town they grew up.
Now My father had Parkinson’s disease and was no longer able to drive or get around without help. To make things more difficult, my dad he was losing his hearing. My mother had had a stroke and to communicate with her one had to play a good game of charades. When she wanted to speak she often couldn’t recall the word or words she wanted to use.
Are you listening? In the last months of my Fathers life, one day when my dad was home from the nursing home, my Uncle AL and his wife, Aunt Jane came to visit my mom and dad.
I want you to paint this picture clearly. My dad was almost stone cold deaf. My mother had suffered a stroke and one needed to be able to play charades to understand what she wanted to say. My Uncle AL was more stone cold deaf than my dad and was suffering from Al-timers disease. My Aunt Jane had an even worse case of Alzheimer’s. In the living room of my parents home sat these old people, who were an integral part of each others lives. They all talked at the same time. Lord knows what my aunt Jane was hearing. And my mother was as engaged as she could be.
They Paused, smiled and laughed:
Then they paused, great big smiles came across their faces and they would laugh until they cried. Then they did it again and again.
These were old people in their eighties. I was listening to a celebration of life! My dad’s brother Al and his wife my aunt Jane had driven from Eagles Lake in Michigan to my dad’s home in Mishawaka, Indiana. My Uncle Al’s hearing was worse than my dad and my aunt Jane had Alzheimer’s. We weren’t sure if she knew who she was.
HYPERLINK “https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-beta&hs=GBr&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=np&q=alzheimer%27s&spell=1&sa=X&ei=vc92U9jJGs2NqAaqsIKADQ&ved=0CCUQBSgA” alzheimer’s.
There they were, in my folks living room visiting. They would all speak at once. My dad and his brother couldn’t hear.
Then they would all stop talking. Big smiles came across their faces as they laughed. Then they would all speak again, followed by silence, smiles and laughter. They did it again and again. I just happened to be there – the Lord was teaching my soul to hear and see! It didn’t seem to matter what technically was understood. What mattered is they were celebrating life, giving thanks and remembering the blessing and graces God had given them.
Only when it was all over I asked – how the heck did my Uncle Al and Aunt Jane find their way to my parents house? Do not let your hearts be troubled. They we saying goodbye.
Amen, Amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. You young people put on your spiritual eyes and ears because the spirit that lives in you is going to lead you on to works greater than these.
One can only guess they must have been imagining. Treasured stories buried deep within the heart. That they could neither hear or understand the spoken message was of little importance.
Jesus message is not about religion or church buildings. It is about opening our hearts to the promise, by reaching out to one another and wrapping our arms around each others neck and saying, I love you with all my heart! Then we could unleash on our world, the works Jesus promised we could do – greater than these. Healing and forgiveness: