“If someone loves me, he will keep my word; my Father will love him”
Every Sunday, The Cross Africa resumes the commentary taken from the missal Let us pray in the Church Africa”, edited by Bayard Africa. On this 6th Sunday of Easter of year C, Father Antoine TIABONDOU, Priest of the diocese of Fada N’Gourma (Burkina Faso) offers us a meditation on the fidelity and presence of Christ.
At the start of each Eucharistic celebration, the celebrant priest very often greets the liturgical assembly with this formula: “The Lord be with you! This greeting and this invocation are of capital importance, because it is always Christ who gathers his People. This Easter season that we are living is marked by the presence of the Risen One in the midst of his own, a presence which is also manifested by the gift of the Holy Spirit and by the Word. Today, Jesus speaks with the apostles who are visibly worried about the departure of their Master.
Indeed, Jesus is increasingly challenged by religious leaders who seek to eliminate him. Faced with the disciples’ fear and questions, Christ reassures that he will always be present. “If someone loves me, he will keep my word; my Father will love him, we will come to him and, with him, we will make ourselves a dwelling”: Jesus is the Word of the Father, the eternal Word of the Father, the Messenger of the Father. Loving Jesus, keeping his Word means welcoming the Father and opening oneself to the presence of the whole Trinity. How sweet is the presence of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, in the life of the believer! This presence gives assurance and peace: “I leave you peace, I give you my peace; it is not in the way of the world that I give it to you…”
Remaining faithful to the Word of Jesus and remaining docile to the Holy Spirit, who also has the role of reminding the disciple of the Word of Christ, constitute the foundation on which the new community of Christ is founded, the Church, the new Jerusalem, the Holy City, whose (twelve) gates are open to all mankind. Christ, in himself, is the glory and the light that enlightens the community of believers. Hence the importance for this community of always remaining docile to the Holy Spirit and always keeping alive the awareness that Christ is always there. It is moreover openness to the Holy Spirit and listening to all that he may well inspire in conformity with the commandment of Christ, which enabled the first Christian community to take the appropriate decisions on the question of circumcision to be imposed on non-Jews newly converted to Christ.
Today’s Word of God teaches us that God’s salvation is granted to all flesh and that Christians form the new people of God called to live fully in the permanent presence of the Risen One. The Church does not live by conformity or repetition, but rather by fidelity to Christ and to his Word. Today as tomorrow, the Church does not have to defend itself against anyone, but only to remain faithful to Christ and to keep his Word.
Abbé Antoine TIABONDOU, Priest of the Diocese of Fada N’Gourma (Burkina Faso)
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