The apostles must have been quite confused at times when they were with Jesus. Today’s gospel passage comes from the Last Supper discourse, according to John. Jesus—who is with them, speaking with them—says that he will not leave them orphaned, that he will come to them. If he is already with them, how will he come to them? I think the answer may lie in what we’ll be looking at for the next couple of weeks in a series we’re calling Preparing for the Spirit. As long as he walks the earth, as Jesus of Nazareth, God is here in a single person. But once he goes away and comes as the Holy Spirit, God enters into our being: “On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me and I in you.” That’s his message: God loves us so much that he is no longer content to be part of our history in Jesus of Nazareth, but instead wants to come and dwell in each one of us! Our God, who is so completely other, chooses to dwell inside of you and me as the Holy Spirit. As we near the end of the Easter Season, we will consider this Spirit that God is sending to us—and with the Spirit dwelling in us, who knows what God may choose to do with us.
I like to think it was the Spirit who moved the General Council of the Basilian Fathers to appoint Kevin Mannara here almost two years ago. Kevin came to us with a great deal of expertise, having recently completed his Doctorate in Ministry, and has been a great motivating force behind many of the activities we have done as parish. And now the Spirit has moved the General Council to ask him to exercise his talents elsewhere. As of June 1, Deacon Kevin will be appointed to Rochester, New York, his home city, to assume charge of chaplaincy at St. John Fisher College. We have been blessed to have him with us, and I know that his spirit will live on in many of our practices here in the parish. Next weekend we will have a small goodbye for him after each Mass, with cake and coffee and a time to wish him well. I pray that the Holy Spirit, who brought Kevin here, will guide and strengthen him as he continues serving God’s people in a new way. Thank you, Kevin, for your ministry and your presence; may the Spirit, for whom we are preparing, fill you with wisdom and strength as you begin your new assignment.