“HE GOES TO THE FATHER TO BE WITH YOU”
Saint John 16. 16-23
JUBILATE: 21 April Anno Domini 2013
Fr Jay Watson SSP
In The + Name of Jesus
The Lord’s “going to the Father” is not His leaving you. When Christ went to the Father He was transitioning His servanthood from a merely, and only localized, Judean presence to a Church-wide presence. His “going” was to be only in a corporeal visible way but not in a physically abandoning way.
The Disciples would no longer “see” Him with their eyes, in a ‘local’ presence (circumscribed by dimensions of 6 by 3 by 2 ft) every minute of the day as they had for the previous three-years, but now would see Him with the eyes of faith when they were gathered by His Holy Ghost around His Words and His Supper. He is present, really, truly, factually, physically, in His Sacramental Presence. The bread is His Body and the wine is His Blood. And the Words are His Being—the Nazarene!
The Christ’s prediction of “going to the Father” was not about a journey of miles; it was not a trip to a distant place—an outer-space heaven; the God-Man was going to shortly ascend into the inter-cooperative & loving penetrative relationship of the Holy Trinity. Where the Father was—omnipresent everywhere, soon the God-Man, Jesus of Nazareth would be!
Because you all hurt so badly and need a Savior Who is there with you to help you, to take care of you, to defend you, and make things better, He will go to The Father.
James and John, Andrew and Peter did not want to lose the visible presence of their dear Master. There “loss” in a visible sense, is your gain in an actual reality. The Lord steps back from only a face-to-face with Matthew to put His pierced hands and arms around ALL His Disciples. Jesus’ going away is simply Him rearranging Himself to give a group-hug. And more than a hug, a peace and a joy that surpasses human understanding.
The “little whiles” of seeming abandonment, of visual loneliness are just that “little whiles.” The “little whiles” of tears, bodily degeneration, heart-aches, and loss of loved ones are just that “little whiles.” And thank the Lord that the times of sin, sinning: rolling eyes in disdain and contempt at others, name calling, grudge holding, lusting, provoking and disobeying the Word of the Lord, are also “little whiles.” Thank the Lord that even in these periods of defeat and shame that He hears your confession and pronounces His absolution.
One little while is now over—your fast from Sunday last. Your own tribulations in the desert this past week have now come to an end at this point in the march of time; at this oasis in the Tents of God, you are carried to His table to receive His meal. His dinner is Himself and all that He is. Here you are cooled from the heat by His shade and nourished from starvation by His Meat and Drink—His Body and Blood.
He promises you not worldly happiness or worldly solutions. You and your neighbor are there/here to love and serve, to help and provide physical aide, support, money, goods, time and companionship to your less fortunate and hurting neighbors—especially those of the ‘Household of Faith.’ God doesn’t need your works, but your neighbor does! But, even now your heart, that is your soul—your New Man, rejoices with supernal and divine joy because your Lord and God comes to you and says “Peace;” blesses you with “This is My Body for you.” You are forgiven. And you are also forgiven that you despise sometimes, and trivialize most-times, the very notion of forgiveness. Believe the Lord; you need to be forgiven and cleansed.
And in Him, you no longer stink with the rancid and putrid odor of death but rather fill the sanctuary and adorn the altar with the sweet scent of myrrh, aloe, cassia, sandalwood, lily, frankincense and Trinitarian love.
In The Name of The Father and of The + Son and of The Holy Ghost