Home means different things to different people. For some people, home is just a place where we sleep. It provides a safe haven from the world and nothing more. Indeed as long as home provides a bed and some food, that’s enough. For others however, home provides all of that and a great deal more. Homes are places that nurture us, places we rest comfortably in, and places from which we launch ourselves into the world. And then sadly for yet other people, homes are places to forget because they’re places in which people have suffered. Whatever our actual experience of home though, most of us would agree a good home is something to which people aspire. Consequently, when Christ tells us “if anyone loves me he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him and make our home with him”, we have to wonder what connection this has to our aspiration for a good home, and what we have to do to benefit from Christ’s generosity.
So how does this connect to our aspiration for a good home? Well firstly, we often need a bit of help to make a good home. We see this on the television where it’s the main premise of home improvement shows. We need help to do some of the practical things that improve our home. We need help to do the things that give our home the potential to be a good home. Secondly, once our home has acquired the potential to be a good home, then the next step is to realise that potential. We can’t do that without help. Good homes don’t just drop out of the sky; we need advice, support and time to bring them about. And thirdly, once we’ve we realised the potential our home has and it’s become a good home then, should we wish to do so, we can trade up to get an even better home.
Now in a certain sense, the way in which the Father, Son and Holy Spirit make their home in us is like this. For example, we need help to acquire the potential necessary for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to make their home in us. Left to our own devices, without any help from them, it wouldn’t happen. We would never be ready for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to make their home in us unless they had taken the initiative and given us that potential. Likewise, once we’ve acquired the potential to have the Father, Son and Holy Spirit come and make their home in us, that potential still needs to be realised, which can only happen through God’s activity. And then most strikingly of all, once the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have made their home in us when the time is right we can trade up. And what this means is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit make their home in us so that in time we can join the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in their other home in heaven. In other words, our opportunity to join the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in heaven is a consequence of their willingness to make a home in us.
But how does all this happen? Well we’re told we have to keep Jesus’s word. In effect, this means doing what Jesus told us to do and living the way that Jesus wanted us to live. And what this involves is spelt out for us in the gospels so we should examine them carefully to see it in practice. But to move from knowing what to do to actually doing it we need the help of grace. Fortunately, though, God shares his grace with us in the sacraments. So if we avail of the Church’s sacramental ministry we’re able to keep Jesus’s word, to do what Jesus told us to do and to live in the way that Jesus wanted us to live. And when we do this, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit will make their home in us and we will obtain all the benefits that this entails.