Fr Joe’s Gospel Refection May 29 – Sixth Sunday of Easter (A)

by Fr Joseph Harris, CSSp

Gospel: John 14, 15 – 21

Jesus said to his disciples: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows him. But you know him, because he remains with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”

Homily

Good parents make provision for their children’s future. Some do this by investing in education; Others do it through insurance programmes and still others do it by saving large amounts which they can then leave for their children. While most parents do not tell their children what shape their future should take, all parents hope that their children’s future will be successful in whatever field they choose to become involved.

In the gospel given to us for our meditation this weekend, we see Jesus making provision for the future of his followers. The disciples have already chosen the path that they will follow even though they have not understood all its ramifications. As the gospels relate, they still thought that he would be the one to liberate Israel. Jesus knew however that they would come to the correct understanding of his mission but that they would need some very special help if they were to be faithful to the path for which they had been chosen and which they had freely accepted and so Jesus assures the disciples that provisions have been made for them. “I will not leave you orphans” he tells them “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth…,

In a world given over to worshipping false gods, to worshipping lies, the disciples will be called to proclaim the truth about the One God. So Jesus promises them the Spirit of Truth”, something the world cannot understand “because it neither sees nor knows him.” At Pentecost this Spirit came to the disciples and remained with them allowing them to witness to Truth even at the cost of their lives. In a very true sense the Spirit of Truth ensured a future in which the disciples for the greater part remained faithful to their mission of proclaiming the Truth.

Today, as throughout the entire history of the world, there has always been the temptation to substitute truth with lies and while it is true that the true worship of idols, (believing that this block of wood or stone has creative or redemptive powers) is not very prevalent except in some very remote societies, the worship of idols continues in another form. We so often make material things the “be all and end all” of our lives. Today of course money and comfort have taken the place of the images of birds and bulls. The search for the perfect human body has become for many more important than the search for God. What persons consider to be good for them has replaced objective good. All of these manifestations are manifestations of the age old temptation to worship lies and now as then Jesus tells his faithful followers, “I will not leave you orphans…

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth…”

The disciples believed Jesus and waited with Mary for the coming of the Spirit and when the Spirit was poured out upon them, they wasted no time and went out through the world proclaiming the truth, confronting lies and combating the worship of the false gods of their era even at the cost of their own lives, confident that God was with them, that they were not orphans.

This has been the glorious history of Christianity; in every age and in every continent, there have been disciples of Jesus, Catholic and Protestant, who in the power of the Spirit have proclaimed the truth, confronted lies and combated the worship of the false gods of their era even at the cost of their own lives. The martyrs of Uganda, of Japan, of Korea and those who fought against the enslavement of the native Americans and Africans bear witness to this.

Today as in those days, we need the Spirit to be with us in the battle against the lies and false gods of our times. All of us by baptism and confirmation have already received this Spirit of truth. Very often however we do not take cognizance of the Spirit already given to us, we feel alone and abandoned even at times betrayed by those whom we considered friends.  May we follow the example of the saintly Archbishop emeritus of Sao Paulo, Cardinal Arns who in an interview revealed that he called upon the Spirit of truth, hundreds of times in the day as he went about the business of shepherding the flock entrusted to him. We as disciples of Jesus can imitate him in his reliance on the Spirit, our Advocate, in our confrontation with the lies which seek to destroy us and the idols which our age encourages us to accept and worship.

Prayer

All powerful and ever-loving God, through your son Jesus, You promised your disciples not to leave them orphans. You promised them another advocate to be with them as they went about the task of proclaiming the truth. Our world needs valiant witnesses to the truth. Strengthen us all and illumine our pastors so that they may be valiant witnesses to truth. Preserve them from falling victims to the lies and idols of our day so that your Church may be seen as a beacon of Truth throughout the world. We ask this through the intercession of Mary our mother who accompanied the disciples as the waited for the Spirit and your son Jesus who promised us the Advocate. Amen

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