"THIS PLACE IS SACRED"
FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
Father, ‘this car is blessed’, a boy in his final secondary school year told me once. I could not immediately understand what he really meant, he looked serious in his expression. So when I asked him he reminded me of how many times, going together to the outstations, we had talked about God, the gospel and our lives, trying to become Christians. ‘For me this place is sacred’ he concluded.
Also Jesus in today’s gospel speaks of a ‘place’ that he is going to prepare for us where we will be able to stay with him. What is this place? This place is the Father himself. Jesus is going to the Father, and through him we too can go to the Father.
But it is also true that Jesus is already in the Father and the Father in him.
This makes me think that between the present and the future obviously there is distinction, but also continuity. That ‘place’ that Jesus is going to prepare for us is also already here. And we can live in it! We can experience this everywhere, in Church, in the family, in community, at the meetings, at work... even when travelling in the car!
There is another sentence that Jesus directs to Philip as an answer for his scepticism: ‘let us see the Father and we will be satisfied’. ‘I have been with you all this time and still you do not know me? To have seen me is to have seen the Father...’
We are to see The Father in Jesus. We know about the Father through Jesus and we reach to the Father through our brothers and sisters. We can relate to the others in many ways, we can be friends or enemies, we can belong to the same group or be strangers, but there is also a way to stay with the others that we call Christian. It happens ‘in God’ and God makes himself present in it.
St Peter is aware of this new possibility for the Christians and of their new status, he calls them ‘chosen race’, ‘royal priesthood’, ‘consecrated nation’, ‘people set apart for God’, ‘called out of darkness to live in God’s wonderful light’ that is God himself. Big and solemn words applied to the Christians to make us aware of who we are in the sight of God, even remaining simple travellers in this world like the disciples of Emmaus. If God can make himself present among disciples on a journey, if we can feel his presence travelling in a car, it means that He wants to stay with us everywhere, and we can stay in that ‘place’, in him, in all places.
One girl once after a youth meeting, told me: ‘Father, I feel satisfied, I do not need anything else, I am happy’. True, when we live in God and God is in our hearts, are not troubled any more. What a great chance are we offered!