11 May 2015
There’s still some tension left over from Easter morning which needs to be resolved. Jesus had told Mary Magdalene not to touch him; to let go of the Teacher she’d come to know. Jesus was beginning to prepare her and all his disciples for something new. And with our celebration of Pentecost in just thirteen days, we’re approaching the resolution of that Easter tension.
Of course, even before Jesus’ Passion and Death, he was trying to warn his disciples. He was trying to give them a “heads-up” on what to expect. He taught them to have an expectant faith. He taught them to be active, and not merely passive in their relationship with the Father and the Spirit of truth to come.
There are few things worse than an unresolved tension; you know, an argument in the family, or hurtful things said between friends which are never healed. No doubt, it caused Mary Magdalene some pain to be told by Jesus to keep her distance. And, no doubt, it caused the Apostles and disciples at least some confusion to hear Jesus talk about the inevitability of his suffering—and their suffering as well.
But with the coming of the Advocate, the Paraclete, the One who is called by Jesus to stay close to his people . . . with the coming of that most Holy Spirit, the tension of Easter time will find its resolution. All that Jesus said will make sense (or, at least, his words will be clear enough). And the mission that Peter and Paul, Barnabas and the rest of them go on will make sense . . . after Easter, after the Ascension, and only with the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Even though Jesus says things that challenge and even confuse us, he promises us a resolution. He promises us peace and victory—with the coming of the Advocate, the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit who empowers and leads us.
It would be a shame, and a great loss, if Pentecost came and went for us like any other Sunday. And it doesn’t have to. The Lord’s voice is as clear to us today as it was for those who heard it from his own lips. All we need do is listen to what he says today: Prepare for the coming of the Spirit.
Prepare for, and expect, good things when the Spirit comes close to us.