We could ask how is the Risen Lord with us? The New Testament and the church tradition offer a rich array of “presences.” Christ is present via my neighbour in need, via created reality beautiful and awe-inspiring, whenever the disciples gather, in the word proclaimed, in the sacrament celebrated and through the Holy Spirit. Perhaps we do not always feel this presence, but the words of Jesus are a guarantee that no matter what is going on in my life or my community or my church, he is still with us.
Most have experienced significant “departures” in their lives and we appropriate these differently, according to the changing phases of our personal life. Gradually we find new ways of being with the one who has departed. Something similar may be said about the early Christians dealing with Jesus’ presence-in-absence. It involved a new, quite different way of being with Jesus in faith and discipleship. In the Acts, the emphasis falls on the future promise of the Spirit. Matthew is more traditional, falling back on the biblical “I will be with you” (cf. Emmanuel at the start of this Gospel). The eloquent prayer in Ephesians really takes us into our present moment on the spiritual journey. So, different lenses on the same experience of closure/transition.
Which of them speaks to me at this moment in my life?
Living the Gospel – You will be my witnesses
A witness in a court of law is called to give evidence about a matter; to ‘testify’ to the truth of what they have seen or what they know to be true. Some people are very good at being a ‘witness’ to their faith by testifying to others about what they believe. Many others provide witness to their faith by simply living what they believe. Living a life based on Christian principles, including regular prayer and worship in your life, working for justice in the world and taking time to celebrate the beauty of everyday life is a powerful witness to others.