I think I have about six more posts on Amoris laetitia still to come, but for today a break from it.
Here in my Roman life I only preach on Sundays once in a while, but yesterday was one of those days. I focused on John 14:23.
Jesus said to his disciples: “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him."
This 'making of a dwelling' is the fruit of the Easter mystery and the whole good news of our faith.
There's a movement, a sort of process in this Easter season. At the beginning, there's just the announcement: the Lord is risen. Then, little by little, the prayers and readings of the Easter season draw us into a reflection on how the risen Lord is present to us. This is why, for example, in the third week of Easter we are reading St. John's Bread of Life Discourse and reflecting on the mystery of the Eucharist, or why by the fourth Sunday of Easter we are reflecting on Jesus the Good Shepherd.
This movement towards a reflection upon and celebration of how the risen Lord is present among us reaches its culmination at Pentecost, when we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit. We celebrate Pentecost precisely as an Easter feast, because the Holy Spirit is the enduring presence of the risen Lord with his Church, as her animating principle that gives her life and guides her through the pilgrimage of history.
The Holy Spirit, then, is God as he comes to dwell in his people, and this 'making of a dwelling' is the fruit of the whole of salvation history. In the incarnation, as St. Irenaeus puts it, God 'accustoms' himself to dwelling in our humanity, and humanity is accustomed to being in-dwelled by God. By his passion and death, Jesus Christ passes through the suffering and death that is the result of our sin, but since death could not hold on to him in his divinity, he rises again and in doing so re-creates our humanity anew, making of it a fitting dwelling for the Spirit.
Pentecost, then, is the fruit of the incarnation; God becomes man in Jesus Christ so that the Holy Spirit may come to dwell in humanity. This is why, for example, that we say that Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit.
It's a mystery that pushes at some of the most basic questions, such as why there should be anything rather than nothing. God creates in order to have a home that he may bless, in order to have someone on whom to lavish his grace.
The whole history of salvation, from the setting of Adam and Eve in the garden to the in-breaking of the finality of all history in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, is pointed toward this end: to create a space into which the whole blessedness and justice of God is able to empty itself.
So as we journey once again toward Pentecost, let us surrender to having our own hearts and minds recreated as that space that is the "dwelling place of God in the Spirit." (Ephesians 2:22)