“Finisher” is a term used in a variety of ways. It could be a relief pitcher in baseball, or the last person on the winning relay team. It could be tradespeople who put finishing touches on a new house, or the financial or corporate person who completes the last legal work that closes a complex business deal. We have a finisher too, the Holy Spirit. Today we hear Jesus’ words at the last supper: “I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have told you.” By the time John’s Gospel was written (100-110 CE), it was clear that Jesus’ work was not finished. His project, the kingdom, was not established, and the second or final coming in glory at the end of time had not happened. A new understanding of how God is present in history and time was growing in the minds and hearts of Christians. They already knew God present in their world as creator, and they had experienced Jesus Christ present in a special way as their redeemer. Now Christians were coming to understand that the remaining work of transforming history, the world, and the whole universe into the kingdom of love, peace and joy was aided by the “finishing” presence of God we name Holy Spirit. During the Easter season as we listen to the Acts of Apostles, we see this “finishing” Holy Spirit at work. We see believers coming together and expanding beyond the limit of apostles and disciples into ecclesial communities spread throughout the Mediterranean and Near East. From our own perspective of more than 20 centuries, we can look back on the work of the Spirit throughout Christian history. We can see the growth that has happened, and the good that has happened. We can see the dark spots that the Spirit illuminates so that we might not repeat mistakes we’ve made. We can understand that our own era is part of the story of the slow growth of the kingdom. As we reflect on our own experience of following Christ, hopefully we can see how the work of “the finisher” helped us to bring a bit more completion to what Jesus began.
— Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia; photo by Adam Winger on Unsplash