Taking it Home: Our gospel this weekend states John's purpose for writing it: "that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life." John, you see, clearly believes that our encounter with this written word will bring us into direct contact with Jesus, the resurrected Jesus; the one who is our life and salvation. The Jesus who not only lived, but was also raised up is truly alive in these written words of the gospel. For these words are written in such a way that they pull us into the mystery; not just the mystery of the life of Jesus, but also the mystery of his Spirit. They do this because the words not only speak of the physical presence of Jesus, but also the spiritual dimension that acknowledges the presence of the resurrected Jesus in the life of the community of believers. They are able to open us to this spiritual dimension because this community of believers senses a reality that is deeper than body or mind; a reality that is crucial to our faith.
But we are stubborn. How can we encounter Spirit, especially through words written on paper? If we can' touch something, see something or have proof that something exists, we simply refuse to believe it. We still cling to the physical notion of reality because this is the only reality that makes sense for us. We appreciate ourselves as physical beings. We know what it means when we say we are beside someone or with someone. Physical realities are separate from any other notion of reality and so when we are with or beside someone, especially someone we deeply love, we are constantly fearful of being separated from that someone especially by death; for death ends reality as we know it or so we think.
But we also say that Jesus is the word become flesh and so words, especially words of faith, have power to make real what they proclaim. And these words can even move us to see something we might otherwise not see if only we could get beyond the physical notion of reality as the only reality that we know.
And this Spiritual reality is a reality that enables us too to see with the eyes of faith; a reality that says the resurrection is real; Jesus is alive and living among us. Death did not have its sting and sorrow and darkness did not prevail. The spiritual reality, you see, appreciates that we are more than physical reality. Spiritual reality knows and appreciates the sense of indwelling: "I am in the Father, you in me and I in you," for in this reality where there is no death we are forever indwelling with the other.
And yes, we too can encounter and enjoy this same reality of Jesus; the Jesus of faith who lives in the written words of the gospel. We too can "see and belive" that Jesus is the Christ, the one who lives beyond death.
But, we think, in our stubborness of hearts, how can this be true? Well though we cannot see love, we can see what happens to those who have been loved. We can know it and believe it because we can see it in the fruits of the community of believers who live this reality in their daily lives as they live the spiritual and struggle to act justly, to resist the powers of death, as they share their resources with those in need and as they gather, as we do today, to break the bread and celebrate together this meal that Jesus gave us in his memory.