OrphanedHumans are built for community. In a community we can be known, valued and have a sense of belonging. Any prolonged separation from community, familial or otherwise, can be a harrowing challenge, something known by orphans. The film “Lion” captures the reality of being orphaned. It is based on the real story of a boy who gets separated from his family, is adopted, grows up far away and as an adult sets out to find his family of origin.
Our need for community is divinely structured. God creates humans as a pair. Genesis tell us God created all of the creatures of the earth but none of them were “suitable partners” for the man so God created at last a human companion.
Our God is a God of relationship. In the gospel today Jesus says, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you” (Jn. 14: 18). God not only creates us for community, our God wishes to be with us . . . for all of eternity. That is the goal and plan of salvation. Jesus says not only is he with us as a companion, he is in us. “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.” (Jn. 14: 20).
The first element to explore in that statement is God’s intimate connection to us. God is with us and in us continually by way of the Holy Spirit, something Jesus references earlier “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always” (Jn. 14: 16).
The second element is the communal nature of our God. God’s very essence is community. For we profess and believe God to be a community of “persons:” Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God is Trinity; meaning a continuous relationship of Love. It is from this relationship of Love that we (individually and globally) are created. It is to this relationship that we are tethered by way of the Holy Spirit.
To Jesus’ point, God is “in” us in many ways: by way of being created in God’s divine image; by way of the Eucharist in which we become what we receive; by way of our Confirmation in which we are specially gifted with the presence of the Spirit. In other words, we can never be orphaned. Even if the world abandons us, our God will not. “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you” (Is. 9: 15). That is Good News!