For I see…
What do you see?
But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God.”
Today, our readings and Gospel look at the present and the future.
As Stephen is about to die he looks up and sees Jesus at the right hand of the Father. He is heading toward Jesus, to His loving embrace. Stephen has Jesus with him in his suffering, and because of that forgives his murders. He is also joyful, even in the midst of the stoning, because He knows what the future holds. Stephen is in a moment so totally now, and in his (and our) future.
John is on the island of Patmos. Jesus is speaking with him once again in terms that can be read as very now, in the present, and for the future. Jesus tells John that He is the Alpha and the Omega – timeless. He also tells John: “Behold, I am coming soon.”
We look at these statements and from them understand that Jesus is ever present, always with us and is also the ultimate goal, our promised future. John knows that Jesus is his present and future. To him Jesus is a joy, better than any other thing the world can offer.
Jesus is delivering His farewell address to His disciples just before the road that will lead Him to Calvary. He is reminding them that they are bound to Him by their knowledge and love, by their unity. They have the reality of God living with and in them, ever present, ever now. They also hear that they have a share in the future reality of God – the kingdom and paradise.
Like Stephen, like John, we need to listen to Jesus and rely on this reality – that He is with us in this moment, in the present, and is not just as a goal or someone we will meet in the future. Also, that we have a share in a wonderful future that surpasses any suffering or difficulty.
Our mothers have seen what Stephen and John saw. They brought us into the Holy Church so that we would see these things, so that we might listen to Jesus and understand a moment so totally now, and a vision for our future.
Because of their faith and the instruction they provided for us we were given an opportunity. When asked, ‘What do you see?’ how will we answer? If we took mom’s lessons to heart we can say: “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God.” Saying that we can offer this vision to others. We can let them know about Jesus who is with us now and is our future.