presence of Jesus
5th Sunday of Easter
Fr. Mark Gatto
Date Preached: May 10, 2020
My mother is 89 years old and living in a senior’s condo. So, my siblings and I have decided not to visit her in her condo to keep her safe. My brother and sister arrange for food to be delivered or drop it off. I call her daily to maintain contact since I am unable to go to Guelph to visit her in person. But, it is not the fullness of being present with her. Many of you are experiencing that same limited personal presence with family and friends.
As Catholics, we are unable to gather now for the Eucharist in our churches. There are TV and livestream Masses to maintain contact. But, again, this is not the fullness of the presence of Jesus. The presence of Jesus in the People of God gathered together in assembly and the real presence of Jesus in holy communion.
Jesus says, “I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.” Jesus hungers to be with us, to be present with us. Like a person who passionately longs to be with their beloved, Jesus passionately longs to be with us. Jesus, “the way, the truth and the life”, reveals a God who hungers and longs to embrace us. A God who desires us to be present within the mystery and life of God.
The First Letter of Peter says, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people.” This God looks at us as a person looking upon their beloved. The desire to be together, to be present with one another, this is the longing of our God revealed in Jesus.
Jesus then says, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” Have we seen Jesus? How do we see Jesus? To really see someone we need to spend time with them, watch them, listen to them, share experiences with them. We spend time with Jesus in the People of God assembled together in the church as the body of Christ. We see Jesus in the Priest presiding in the Sacraments. We listen to Jesus speaking to us as the Scriptures are proclaimed. We receive Jesus in the real presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
In this time we need to remember that we also need to see Jesus in the poor, the sick, the needy, the lonely. Mother Teresa used to say that her Sisters began their day in Adoration in the chapel. There they spent time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Then they went out to serve the poor in the streets. There they spent time with Jesus in those in need.
At this time when we do not have the presence of Jesus in the Sacraments in our churches, we are still able to spend time with Jesus, to listen to Jesus, to see Jesus. We are perhaps encouraged in a special way to spend time and listen to Jesus by reading one of the Gospels. Take a Gospel and slowly read through it, watching for how Jesus acts, how Jesus treats others, what Jesus says and teaches. As we see this Jesus we are seeing God the Father. What do you see about God as you see this Jesus?
“so that where I am, there you may be also.” Jesus longs for us to be present with him. We see the God who hungers for us, who thirsts for us, who passionately wills that we be embraced in the love of God.