What has Jesus left his disciples? He has not written a book, or established a political entity, or given the Jews control over the earth, or crushed the Romans (as so many believed and hoped he would). It seems he has left them nothing tangible, and now he is leaving. Surely, the disciples are grieved and confused about the future as Jesus tells them he is going.
Jesus is going to the one who sent him: the Father, Whose Heart is our Home forever.
He is going. But his work is surely not done. His mission certainly does not end with his death, or with his return to the Father. In fact, returning to the Father is part of his mission, because he tells us that it is only if he goes that he can SEND the Advocate. “If I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.”
And what is the importance of this Advocate, this Holy Spirit? What does he bring to the world, and to the disciples? Jesus has left nothing tangible, but he has established a Kingdom – THE Kingdom, GOD’S Kingdom – through his life, death, and resurrection, and he will spend the rest of human history expanding that Kingdom, one heart at a time. And he left on earth the instrument through which he will expand this Kingdom: the Church. He left no writing or political game plan. He left a living Church, animated and enlivened, guided “to all truth,” and guaranteed infallible by the Holy Spirit.
This Church will work out its governance over time, guided by the Spirit. This Church will safeguard all the treasures poured out by God, with the guarantee of the Spirit. This Church will carry the word of Truth to the ends of the earth, letting this light tear down idols and put an end to human sacrifice, with the blazing Fire of the Spirit. This Church will compile the world’s best-selling Book, with the light of the Spirit. This Church will reach out in love and establish hospitals and universities and orphanages, with the creative love of the Spirit. This Church will stand firm against all political powers and cultural confusions and worldly upheavals, with the steadfastness of the Spirit. This Church will make all the grace of redemption available to all peoples throughout all time, with the infinite mercy of the Spirit. This Church will bring souls into the family of God, and forgive them over and over again, and feed them with the very Body and Blood of the Lord every hour of the day, giving glory and praise to the Father, through and with and in the Son, in the unity of the Spirit.
This is what Jesus left his disciples, and us. This is the Faith we profess, and the Home in which we are nurtured until Christ be fully formed in us, and we are safe in the Heart of the Trinity forever.
Kathryn Mulderink, MA, is married to Robert, Station Manager for Holy Family Radio. Together they have seven children (including Father Rob), and four grandchildren. She is President of the local community of Secular Discalced Carmelites and has published five books and many articles. Over the last 30 years, she has worked as a teacher, headmistress, catechist, Pastoral Associate, and DRE, and as a writer and voice talent for Catholic Radio. Currently, she serves the Church by writing and speaking, and by collaborating with various parishes and to lead others to encounter Christ and engage their faith. Her website is www.KathrynTherese.com
Feature Image Credit: marilopz, www.cathopic.com/photo/15024-llegas-espiritu-dios