“Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.” (Lk 1: 39-41)
Our Lady, Mother of God, is present in many places all over the world. She is always close to us–she greets, she listens, she answers, she protects. Today’s feast reminds us that we can always put our trust in her, and she will always come.
“Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary, who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you gave me is from you, because the words you gave to me I have given to them, and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you, and they have believed that you sent me.” (JN 17: 6-8)
“They have kept your word”—this makes us different from the world: “those whom you gave me out of the world.” We belong to Our Lord, who “came from the Father.” We keep His word, and we put His word into action in our lives. With His word and the assistance of the Holy Spirit, we will know better how to serve.
“I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always.” (Gospel acclamation)
“Do you believe now? Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived when each of you will be scattered to his own home and you will leave me alone. But I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” (JN 16 31-32)
It could happen in our lives that we will experience “the hour… when each of us will be scattered to his own home.” And it could be one of the most difficult moments, when we need confirmation that we are not alone, like Jesus wasn’t: “Because the Father is with me.”
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.” (ACTS 1: 11)
We are not losing Our Lord, we are not abandoned, we are not orphans—He promised: “I am with you always, until the end of the age.” The main message of today’s feast is: “This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return.” This is our mission to proclaim this message to “all nations.”
“Go and teach all nations, says the Lord; I am with you always, until the end of the world.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“On that day you will ask in my name, and I do not tell you that I will ask the Father for you. For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have come to believe that I came from God.” ( JN 16: 27)
Whatever Our Lord did or said, it was about God the Father and how much He loves us. Now Jesus is leaving us and going back to His Father. He reminds us what’s the most important thing—that we are loved: “for the Father himself loves you” and that we do not need a mediator: “I do not tell you that I will ask the Father for you“ because “on that day you will ask in my name.”
“I came from the Father and have come into the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Do not be afraid. Go on speaking, and do not be silent, for I am with you. No one will attack and harm you, for I have many people in this city.” (ACTS 18: 9-10)
The main message of Our Lord is: “Do not be afraid” because “I am with you.” His presence and grace helps us in speaking, traveling, preaching, teaching, serving and doing so many things because of “many people in the city.” His presence protects and His presence encourages. We are loved and we love Him.
“Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead, and so enter into his glory.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming.” (JN 16: 13)
As children of God, we also grow. In this process we need help; we need Somebody who “will guide us to all truth.” “The Spirit of truth” knows perfectly the Father and the Son, so “He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears.” We are never alone and never abandoned because “another Advocate is with us always.”
“I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” (JN 16: 7)
The time of the Holy Spirit is coming: “I will send him to you.” The Holy Spirit will replace Our Lord: “for if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you.” And even if we do not see it clearly, “it is better for us that Our Lord go” because the Spirit of truth “will guide us to all truth.”
“I will send to you the Spirit of truth, says the Lord; he will guide you to all truth.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“On the sabbath we went outside the city gate along the river where we thought there would be a place of prayer. We sat and spoke with the women who had gathered there.” (ACTS 16: 13)
Have you ever thought about how many places you pray? We pray in churches, at homes, in cars, planes, buses and trains. “A place of prayer” could be also “along the river” or at a camping spot at the lake and many other places. Our Lord wants to be with us in every place, and there is no place where we are not loved.
“The Spirit of truth will testify to me, says the Lord, and you also will testify.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who went down and prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for it had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.” (ACTS 8: 14-17)
The Holy Spirit is received by a very personal gesture: “they laid hands on them.” Samarians “had accepted the word of God”; they “had been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus,” but they needed the Apostles’ prayer “that they might receive the Holy Spirit.” We received the Holy Spirit when a bishop put his hands on us. The Tradition continues.
“Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord, and my Father will love him and we will come to him.” (Gospel Acclamation)