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In a week’s time – on the 28th May – the Parish of St. Michael’s, Kilmarnock will celebrate its last Sunday Mass with the Final Mass of Thanksgiving the following Thursday, 1st June at 7pm.  You are all invited to that Mass on June 1st.  There is no other way to dress this up than to say that for St. Michael’s it is a very sad end.  Memories come flooding back even to people like me who have only had a remote link with the Parish.  For parishioners and for some of you who are present and former parishioners there will be all sorts of memories: the various Priests that have served in St. Michael’s; the religious that made their Professions from there; the Priests that were ordained from there; the Fetes; the use of the Hall; the social life that came along with celebrating weekday and Sunday Mass there.  It seems like the end and reminds us of so many experiences of death that we have in life: death of a loved one; death of a friend.  Let’s pray that we will all do all we can to make sure our friends from St. Michael’s are welcomed to our communities when they come.  It also reminds me of so many experiences I hear about when people feel like ‘this experience I am going through in life’ is the end: when people are faced with unemployment or family trials.  So many experiences that seem like the end.




Today in the Gospel we have a similar END experience.  Jesus is preparing the disciples for the day – quite soon He says – when He will depart.  This will seem like the end for them but Jesus reassures them that it is not the end.  He does this with several phrases: “I will not leave you orphans”, “I will send you the Spirit”, and “The Spirit of Truth will be given to you.”  Crucially Jesus says “I am telling you this now before it happens so that when it does happen, you will believe.”  We know, of course, that this Gospel was written many years after the events of the Resurrection took place.  John, who was writing this Gospel, had had plenty of experience of God’s presence by the time he wrote the Gospel.  John would have had experience of miracles being done by the disciples, he would have known about the great spread of the Good News and the Christian faith throughout the Jerusalem area and outwards, by the end of the first century, even to Rome.  He would have remembered the promise of Jesus – that He would send the Holy Spirit – and he might have said “well, that came true what Jesus promised.”




So what was Jesus promising when he said the Holy Spirit would come?  He was promising that all they had experienced with Jesus would continue.  The Healing would continue. The Forgiveness and Mercy would continue.  The outpouring of Love would continue.  All the words and all the actions of Jesus would continue through the words and actions of the disciples.  What Jesus came to bring to the world – God on earth – all of that would continue.  God continuing – through his followers – to sit at our table, to share our lives and to walk our earth.  This, of course, is in marked contrast to what the world community would say. Down through the ages, society has said religion and faith is false and the best way to happiness is through ploughing your own furrow and not bothering about your neighbour and certainly not bothering about God.  Christians down through the ages have stood out from the world and said ‘No!’  Only through God’s values can happiness and fulfilment be found.  The Saints have said it – St. Margaret and St. Theresa, St. Francis and St. Ninian.  The spread of the Church all over the world has proved that God’s way is of values to a needy world.




For you and for me we know it is true.  So often we face death experiences when we think we cannot go on: when we face the death of a loved one or when we are suddenly moved to a new job.  Only when we look back can we say “actually it wasn’t the end; actually I made it through the pain.”  This is what Jesus meant by promising to send you the Holy Spirit – there would be a way through.  It is what we mean by Resurrection – death is not the end.


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