Fifth Sunday of Easter
We all yearn for intimacy with someone, that oneness of mind and heart that assures our inner security and stability. Intimacy with another indicates a union of the deepest part of one with another. It feels like one is living in and with the other in such a way that, though separated by physical distance, intimate persons are aware of their presence to each other. Our capacity for intimacy is a sure and certain pointer to our spiritual nature: we are not just bodies, but embodied souls. Often we think that intimacy is merely a physical encounter as in love-making. Far from the truth! Intimacy is first and foremost, a profound experience of another person’s inner being – heart, soul and mind – which is only felt on the body as the principle of our individuality and concreteness. Intimacy is perpetual presence of one to the other that goes beyond physical presence. In a way, one keeps the other constantly alive in one’s consciousness. To be intimate is to be truly united to the other so that though individually two, they have become somehow one in mind, heart and soul. It is a great achievement of any human being to have reached this level of intimacy, for human weaknesses, desires and differences in value system often make the achievement of intimacy such a hard struggle among human beings. Even marriage does not necessarily mean or guarantee intimacy, though we would love and hope it to be so. It requires work and those who experience it will agree.
But our intimacy with Jesus helps us work on our intimacy with others, whether in marriage or in friendship. Jesus describes his intimacy with us in such a graphic manner: he is the vine and we are the branches of the vine. The branches cannot survive if cut off from the tree, for the tree supplies nutrients from the root through the trunk to the branches. In other words, Jesus is so intimately connected to each of us that it is to our own peril to want to live outside him. He is so intimate with us in the same way that hydrogen is so bound up with oxygen in the right ratio to form water. When the hydrogen in water, for example, is forced out from its bond with oxygen through a chemical reaction, the results are something else but definitely not water. This is precisely what happens when we try to live in separation from our intimate connection to God: we suffer and our society and human relationships suffer; even the physical universe suffers too. As much as we try to deny this reality of our nature, the consequences haunt us every moment.
What can we do? We need to get back to that intimacy with our Lord. We need healing and awakening to who we really are: children of God. Sin is what takes us away from God’s intimate relationship with us. Jesus came to heal that rift through his death and resurrection, and to show us the way back to that intimacy with God. But we each have to know how our choices, actions, and style of life pull us away from God. The Good News is that, though we may go away from God, He waits for our return no matter what or how long it takes. I pray that this good news inspires an inner search in you. Amen