Sixth Sunday in Easter Time
A four-year-old girl heard that Jesus lives in the hearts of those who love him. Struggling to grasp what this could mean she climbed into her mother’s lap and pressed her ear tightly against her side. Her mother asked, “Honey, what are you doing?” The child made a sign to be quiet, her index finger across her lips, and whispered, “I’m listening for Jesus inside you.” Enjoying her closeness, she let her daughter listen for awhile, and then said, “Well, did you hear Jesus within me?” “Yes, I did,” she replied, “it sounds to me like he’s making coffee.”
What a delightful way to think of this astonishing mystery. For sure, Jesus isn’t making coffee, but this little girl had the right idea. His presence in our hearts is as normal as sharing a cup of coffee with someone you love. When the great German theologian, Karl Rahner, spoke about the necessity of an intimate love for Jesus, a fellow professor said to him, “That’s all right as long as you don’t get sentimental.” Rahner replied, “You are really dealing with Jesus only when you can hug him.” Jesus, himself, expresses it this way: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (Rev. 3:20). Whether you compare intimacy with Jesus to sharing a cup of coffee, or a hug, or a meal with him, the reality is his true presence in the hearts of those who love him.
Jesus made this promise to his disciples when he was sharing the Last Supper with them in the large upper room. He said, “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” (Jn. 14:23). The outer space of that intimate meal between Jesus and his disciples is now a sign for the loving presence of Jesus within our inner space.
Like the Last Supper, our intimacy with Jesus is always communal. First, because it is a communion with the Trinity, because Jesus brings the Father and the Holy Spirit with him to make us sharers in their divine love affair. Imagine being at a meal in the uppermost room of your heart and having a cup of cappuccino with these three divine lovers who want you to be swept up into their intimate romance, even to the point of being divinized by them. Who ever dreamed we could be lifted up so high and included in such a passionate affair with God?
There is a second reason why intimacy with Jesus is always communal, like the Last Supper. All who receive the consecrated bread and wine of Jesus become one body with him and with each other by the power of his Spirit. The Holy Spirit dwelling within us teaches us all things, especially to grow in love for everyone. When God dwells in our hearts we become tabernacles in the world bringing the loving presence of God wherever we go.
When you are dancing in your heart with God who loves you, your joy and peace overflows. Who is hungry for divine love and feels its warmth in your smile? Who is depressed and experiences divine comfort by your touch, your caress? Who is dismayed by God’s absence and finds God in your presence? Who is upset or angry, fostering discord or hate, until defused by your kindness and concern, your willingness to listen and understand?2 The more you take time to spend with Jesus in your heart, the more you will radiate his love through the sanctuary lamp of your eyes and face. For God’s divine indwelling is the source of our life of prayer, peace and happiness. Seek Jesus within you. May the indwelling of Christ make your spirit dance because heaven is within.
- Celebration May, 2001, 219.
- Walter Burghardt, S.J. “Sir We would Like to See Jesus,” 79.