Last week as we traveled to Washington DC we caught a glimpse of Arlington National Cemetery. When I lived in the DC area for several years I always tried to take visiting friends to see the seemingly endless rows of tombstones. In a big metropolitan city with a lot of huge monuments I found the thousands of small individual monuments to be incredibly powerful and sobering. I guess that is why I had the reaction that I did while reading this Sunday’s Gospel which happens to be on Memorial Day Weekend.
Jesus said to his disciples: “When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.
“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.” John 15:26-27; 16:12-15
Here is the thing that struck me so profoundly. As Jesus speaks of the Trinity he also uses the word “you” nine times in this brief passage! Jesus is, of course, speaking to His disciples on the night He was betrayed. He is preparing them for His departure and the coming of His Holy Spirit. Tradition tells us that most of those disciples present with Jesus that night, died for their faith in Him. They believed strongly enough in Christ that they gave their lives for Him. Many of those whom we celebrate on Memorial Day died for their beliefs as well.
Like Memorial Day, Pentecost is not just a historical event. It happens continually. Jesus sent His Spirit to all of us to give us the inner strength to live and die as so many have. This weekend, please remember that as a disciple of Christ “you” are called to give your all.