Acts 15: 1-2, 22-29 Revelation 21: 10-14, 22-23 John 14: 23-29
I find it fitting that we conclude the Easter Season this week, on a positive note, considering “What can be, what is to be.” What is to be through and in us in view of the faith that we profess, a faith in the person, the message, the actions of Jesus Christ.
Although John uses very descriptive and unusual language, in what we have heard today, he had both vision and certainty of a new reality, a new Jerusalem, that is evident among those who believe and live their faith in Jesus Christ They are to be a new Jerusalem, a new sign, a new symbol, a true revelation of God’s presence on earth. Jerusalem, in the Old Covenant, was the center, the place where the presence of God was understood to dwell. It was the central sign and symbol of God’s presence in the world. In John’s vision, that sign, that symbol, of God’s presence, the New Jerusalem, was not a temple, but was to be visibly experienced in the Church, in us.
It may not be immediately evident but the account we heard from the Acts of the Apostles today points to the same vision. It does so, however, in a specific and very human way. A dispute has arisen between believers from the Jewish tradition and new believers who were not part of that tradition. Arguments of this nature are part of being human. The practical manner of resolving this dispute did not rely on a decision of a leader of the group, but recognized the active presence of the Spirit of God with then, and that this presence was a real part of the life and action of the Church.
The clearest insight today into “what can be, what is to be,” is found in the farewell address of Jesus to his close followers. The experience which they had for the last two years was now over. The adventure they had been sharing was now taking on a new dimension. Jesus tells these followers two things. One was that unless he goes, the Spirit will not come. Unless he goes, they will stagnate. They will not grow. The other is that in his going, he gives them peace – a deep, inner peace. It is a peace that comes from the presence of the Father, Son, and Spirit with them. It is a deep union with God in this way, and with its attendant love, that will bring true peace and security.
“What can be, what is to be.” This is the vision we have as we are renewed in faith. It is a vision we represent. It is a vision which we show as we gather today in Eucharist. This act of worship now is not a static attendance, an observance of an obligation. It is a dynamic encounter with our God who is present and active through the Word, through the Eucharist, and through us.
This is an encounter with God that occurs when as we bring our belief to be shared with one another. This is an encounter with God that we experience in the presence of God in the Eucharist we receive.
What we share in this Eucharist is what we take from this place. This is what can be,what is to be. It is a declaring by our lives – in our actions day after day – of the peace of Christ we experience with one another in loving union with our good and gracious God.