In each of the readings today, we hear about the promise of the Father – God the Father fulfilling his promise. God promises us over 8,000 things in the scriptures, and with each promise, he is the one that fulfills it. I want to briefly go through each of these promises we hear in the readings today.
The first is from the Acts of the Apostles where Paul says, “While meeting with them, he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem.” They were all scattering around at that time, and he invited them to “wait for the promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak; for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” So, it is the promise of the Father that we will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
I know we are going to celebrate Pentecost in seven days, so we are heading through our novena to Pentecost. Our baptism has already taken place. Each one of us here has been baptized, so that promise has already been fulfilled. How many of you have been confirmed? He has already fulfilled that promise on your Confirmation day. He has given you the gifts, and the fruits, and the power that comes with the Holy Spirit. He is already fulfilling his promises to us.
In the second reading to the Hebrews, we hear, “Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy.” God is trustworthy. That is one of the things that we have to learn over and over again because people sometimes disappoint us.
All of you married couples that are here have shown us what it means to hold true to your promises. That in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, you have maintained your promise. You have held through, and you have become a sacrament for us to see visibly on earth how God is faithful to us. When God promises something, he always comes through.
God is trustworthy, but sometimes people are not trustworthy. We know that some marriages break up. We know that sometimes parents promise things to their kids, and it is never fulfilled. Kids sometimes promise things to their parents, and they end up not doing it. God is trustworthy, and he has promised you Pentecost – this fire in our lives right now.
Ultimately, though, as we celebrate right now on Ascension Sunday, we heard that when the head is gone we can hope and believe that the body will follow.
Jesus promises us that he is going to the Father, and we are coming with him. It is not “I am going to the Father and will see you guys later.” It is “I am going to the Father, and you are coming with me.” So, trust that Jesus is trustworthy to bring us to the Father.
Then, we hear in the Gospel, “And, behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you.” There we have it again. He is sending the promise of the Father upon us. What is that? The Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that we will receive at Pentecost, and we have received in our Baptism. We have received in our Confirmation. We are going to receive it even more on this pilgrimage and on Pentecost. Again, it is his promise, and he said, “Behold I am sending my promise to the Father.”
Now, Jesus is saying to the Father, “Alright, Father, I need to fulfill this promise for my children. Can you please send your Holy Spirit upon them?” So, we trust that Jesus is trustworthy. The Father is trustworthy, and the Holy Spirit will come upon us. There is nothing that we have to do. It is Jesus that wants to make that happen for us.
So, just as he tells his disciples to remain in Jerusalem, I would invite you to remain present here at the Sea of Galilee today and all these holy places where we are on pilgrimage. Remain here and trust that he will fulfill his promise and bring his Holy Spirit upon us in a new and powerful way.