[6thSunday of Easter, Year C, 1 May 2016, Acts 15:1-2, 22-29 / Ps 67:2-3, 5, 6+8 / Rev 21:10-14, 22-23 / John 14:23-29]
Have you ever been to a big church or cathedral? Maybe you have visited St Peter’s Basilica, in Rome – it is huge. So many tourists are there, taking so many photos and many sense that, indeed, God is present there. Imagine if you did a survey and asked what was the favorite dwelling place of God in the whole world? The truth is that God does not only live in tabernacles in big basilicas, but his favorite dwelling place is…the human heart! This is what Jesus affirms in the Gospel of John: “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.” (John 14:23-29). We will make our dwelling with him, we will come and live with this person. God wants to put a sign on your heart – “Home sweet home!”
This reminds us of the prayer of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity who wrote: “Give peace to my soul; make it Your heaven, Your beloved dwelling and Your resting place. May I never leave you there alone but be wholly present, my faith wholly vigilant, wholly adoring, and wholly surrendered to your creative action.” (Nov. 21, 1904).
We need to be present to God’s presence in us. When the Trinity calls our name are we present or absent? Many times we are not at home, we are not comfortable with ourselves and, like St. Augustine, we are searching outside of ourselves yet God is within us. If only we could discover this ineffable light in us! That is why it says in the second reading: “The city had no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gave it light, and its lamp was the Lamb.” (Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23). If we discover the light inside, why look outside for it? If we discover the love of God our Father in us, in our hearts already, we would not always be begging for love from others, desperate for their approval. If we find Jesus as our friend so close to us, how different we would live that moment of loneliness when we could instead recognize the one who promises us, “I am with you always” with us, in us. And how little we would need to ask advice from everyone else if we believed that the Helper, the Holy Spirit, dwells in us, the one who will “teach you all things and remind you of all that I have told you” (John 14:26).
One lady came to the missionary house to ask for advice. As the missionary had to go out for a while he directed the lady to the chapel. When he came back the lady didn’t need to chat, after all. God had given her the solution in a moment of prayer. No need to look for water outside if we discover the fountain of living water in us as the book of Proverbs reminds us, “Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well.” (Proverbs 5:15).
Don’t be afraid to look inside, to find the Trinity present in the events, in the struggles, speaking to us, loving us. Why can’t we find them immediately? Often we just look on the surface or superficially. We need to go deeper. Here in the Philippines, when a property is being built, one consideration is to have a source of water nearby. Often a “diviner” or person who can find water will be employed. During construction of a retreat house the man indicated that water was present. They had to dig five meters, 10 meters, 50 meters. Eventually a huge reservoir of water was encountered.
We dig for the presence of God in us in the silence. Go deeper, seek and you will find. How beautiful to discover God speaking to us in his Word. How long will you dig for? Five minutes? Ten minutes? Stop being so superficial. Go deeper! The psalmist announces: “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your torrents. All your waves and breakers sweep over me.” (Psalm 42:8)
Don’t treat God as a stranger in his own home. Talk to the Trinity. Our God is a God who listens as Jesus reassures us, “I thank you Father because you always listen to me” (John 11:42). Dialogue with God, tell him how you are feeling and what you are thinking. “Cast all your worries on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Before making that decision, share it with the Lord, ask him what he thinks, ask him to enlighten you and the peace Jesus promises will fill our hearts and minds.
How many decisions we make and options we take without even asking or consulting God! And how much we suffer from uncertainty and anxiety as a result because we are not sure if it is the correct decision! What is the fruit of getting into the habit of asking the Lord his opinion? Peace! As the song goes, “Peace, perfect peace, is the gift of Christ our Lord.” How sweet and beautiful when our life becomes a dwelling place for God. Let us enjoy this tender God, who is so humble that he knocks on the door of the heart he has built. He waits for our response.
Let us welcome him into our hearts. With God in our lives, then we start to experience being loved. Lord, make your dwelling in me. May my heart be home, sweet home for you, Lord. Amen.