Twenty-First Sunday; "Lord to whom shall we go?"
Jesus was aware that many of his followers did not accept his teaching or believe that he was the Son of God. In response to this rejection he asks them:
“What if you should see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before?”
The question of “who is Jesus” is never far from the fore of his life and mission. We remember how he places the question explicitly before the apostles. At various other times, the religious and political leaders, not to mention the crowds, all wonder as to the identity of this man. They try to label him as a prophet or a king, a teacher or healer.
When Jesus speaks of himself in today’s Gospel, he does so in terms of his relationship with God the Father. He says:
“No one could come to me unless the Father allows him”.
The relationship between Father and Son ‘gives birth’ to the Holy Spirit. As the Creed tells us, the Spirit “proceeds from the Father and the Son”. In the words of today’s Gospel:
“It is the spirit that gives life”.
The Holy Spirit is the strength that dwells in each of us. As our advocate and guide, the Spirit comes to help us when we are weak or don’t have the words to pray. The Spirit is the eternal love of the Father, the very life of God in us.
Pope Benedict explains:
“The Spirit, poured forth into our hearts, leads us to the Father, constantly making present God’s “Yes” to us in Christ and in turn enabling us to say our “Yes” – Amen! – to God. Our use of the word “Amen” expresses our firm faith in God’s word and our hope in his promises. Through this daily “Yes” which concludes our personal and communal prayer, we echo Jesus’ obedience to the Father’s will and, through the gift of the Spirit, are enabled to live a new and transformed life in union with the Lord. (30 May 2012)
When we are open to the Holy Spirit, the proclamation of Simon Peter becomes our words too:
“Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life; we know that you are the Holy One of God.”