Human memory is quite an interesting mechanism. It is helping us to get through life without having to learn the same things again and again. Based on our previous experiences, the memory leads us through life teaching us how to avoid the same mistakes (sometimes without much success) and to live happily. Although there are moments when we would prefer not to remember, losing memory is a terrible experience that makes us feel confused, out of place, displaced, uneasy, and unsure of ourselves. The worst thing that happens is to remember no more who we are and who are the people closest to us.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus assures us that “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you” (Jn 14,26). Jesus knows that it will happen: we will forget what He had taught us, we will forget His words. Even worse, we will forget the freshness and the newness that His Gospel brings, we will forget that to follow Jesus is Good News, that He came to set us free and to give us abundant life. Maybe it already happened to some of us… The Holy Spirit comes to remind us of what is the essential part of being Christian, but He does so in the context of the whole community. Because this is another characteristic of human memory: it is selective.
When there is an accident, each one of the participants and witnesses will probably tell a different story. And all of their stories will be true because we simply remember things in a different way. This is why the Disciples in the First Reading needed to gather to “remember things together” and based on this common, shared experience, decide what is the best for the present moment of the community. The experience of others is the way how the Holy Spirit reminds us of the teachings of Jesus, and He guides us in our decisions. “We remember. We celebrate. We believe”.
Our Lady of La Vang Community