JESUS’ LAST WISHES
Jesus is saying goodbye to his disciples. He sees them sad and afraid. They all know that they are living their last hours with their Teacher. What will happen when he’s gone? Where will they go? Who will defend them? Jesus wants to fill them with courage by unveiling his last wishes.
Don’t lose my message. This is Jesus’ first wish. That they don’t forget God’s Good News. That his followers always keep alive the remembrance of the Father’s humanizing project: that ‘Reign of God’ that he has told them so much about. If they love him, this is the first thing they need to hold on to: «Anyone who loves me will keep my words…anyone who does not love me does not keep my words».
After twenty centuries, what have we done with Jesus’ Gospel? Do we faithfully follow it or are we manipulating it out of our own selfish interests? Do we welcome it into our hearts or do we go on our way oblivious to it? Do we present it authentically or do we hide it behind our doctrines?
The Father will send you a Paraclete in my name. This is Jesus’ second wish. Jesus doesn’t want to leave them orphaned. They won’t feel his absence. The Father will send them the Holy Spirit who will protect them from the danger of losing him. This Spirit that they have grasped in him, that has sent him to the poor, will also push them in the same direction.
The Spirit will «teach» them to better understand what he taught them. He will help them to grow all the deeper into his Good News. He will «remind» them of everything that they have heard. He will educate them in his way of living.
After twenty centuries, what spirit reigns among us Christians? Do we allow ourselves to be guided by Jesus’ Spirit? Do we know how to live out his Good News? Do we live attentive to those who suffer? Where does his renewing breath lead us today?
I give you my peace. This is Jesus’ third wish. Jesus wants them to live with the same peace that they have been able to see in him, the fruit of his intimate union with the Father. He bequeaths his peace to them. It’s not like the peace that the world can give them. It’s different. It’s born in their hearts if they welcome Jesus’ Spirit.
That is the peace that they must spread at all times to whatever place they arrive. It’s the first thing they bring when they announce God’s Reign in order to open a path to a more healthy and just world. They must never lose that peace. Jesus insists: «Don’t let your hearts be troubled or afraid».
After twenty centuries, why does the fear of the future paralyze us? Why so much suspicion in the face of modern society? There are many people who are hungry for Jesus. Pope Francis is a gift from God. Everything is inviting us to walk toward a Church more faithful to Jesus and to his Gospel.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf