Friday, June 7, 2019

Gospel Text for Pentecost 9 June 2019

John 14:8-17, 25-27        Philip said to Jesus, "Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied." Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, `Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.”

"I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid."

Reflection        Jesus leaves his peace with us, peace intended to replace our fear of the dark and murky places, our fear of what we do not know and cannot control, our fear of people who look and think and believe differently than us.  When we say  “yes” to Jesus’ peace the Spirit of Truth blooms from the inside out, illumining  our minds, inflaming our hearts and inciting our courage to act in spite of the complexity and uncertainty of our time. I believe the Spirit of Truth is with Warren Scott.

Warren Scott is a thirty six year old humanitarian aid worker  who provided water, food and shelter to two suffering undocumented migrants . Scott is a volunteer with No More Deaths, a Tucson-based aid group that leaves supplies for migrants crossing the Southern border. The provisions left in the desert are considered lifesaving, as at least 3,000 migrants are believed to have died walking through the desolate expanse. This week Scott faces charges in Federal Court; one count of conspiring to transport and two counts of harboring two Central American men who crossed into the U.S. from Mexico.

In light of Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan, what was Warren Scott to do? You recall the story Jesus told to a lawyer who wanted to test him and asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.’ The lawyer countered, “who is my neighbor?” Whereupon Jesus tells the story of a Jewish man who is robbed, beaten and left half dead at the side of a road. A priest and a Levite, both Jews, pass him by but a foreigner, a Samaritan, moved with pity (the Spirit of Truth within him), breaks the law prohibiting Samaritans from touching Jews, stops and gives humanitarian aid to the dying stranger. The question Jesus poses to the lawyer and us is, “Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man …” suffering at the side of the road?”  Clearly our answer must be, “the one who showed …mercy.” How then can we ignore Jesus’ instruction, ‘Go and do likewise?” (Luke 10.29-36)

There are Good Samaritan laws in this country, laws intended to protect people who give assistance to those who are or who they believe may be injured, ill or in peril. The laws are intended to reduce bystanders fear of being sued or prosecuted for helping, to mitigate our fear of uncertain outcomes. 

Yes, it can make us anxious to do what we know is the Truth in our hearts because we cannot control the consequence. Even Good Samaritan laws cannot insure a favorable result when we are moved to loving action by the Spirit of Truth within us. Nonetheless we are assured, “My peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not let them be afraid.’ Now go, in the Spirt of Truth, and be merciful to those in need. 

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