My Dearest Brothers and Sisters,
In the gospel passage today, Jesus tells us, “I will not leave you orphans.” In order to better understand this gospel passage today, I wanted to see what the dictionary had to say about the word “orphan.” Accordingly, the dictionary states that an orphan is someone who is without parents through death, loss or abandonment. It goes on to tell us that an orphan is someone without protective advocacy.
Contemplating these words I began to realize what a tremendous “promise” that Jesus is making to His disciples and to us as He continues his “farewell” remarks before returning to the Father in heaven. It also reminded me that I should probably assure you of the same promise; “I will not leave you orphans.” Your new pastor, Father Book, will carry on the task of pastor and shepherd, caring for you and protecting you from all evil.
When Jesus tells us He will not abandon us or cause us to feel unprotected or alone we should experience great comfort. In fact, He goes so far as to tell us He will send His Advocate, the Holy Spirit to not only “be” with us but “dwell in us,” so that we may never be without Him in any situation, event or relationship of our life. Often the role of a pastor is to be that visible sign of God’s promise here on earth and to remind and teach us about God’s gifts, specifically that of the Holy Spirit. As people of faith, this is an enormous blessing.
If you haven’t already, begin to pray for Father Book. Ask the Holy Spirit to work in and through him so that he may use God’s gifts to remind, teach and minister to this parish. Pray that you may be open to him and respect him as he leads this parish as God has called him to do so. Be certain, he too is a sign of God’s promise that you will not be orphaned.
God’s peace and my love and prayers, Father Michael