Reflection: Sixth Sunday of Easter

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Monday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church

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[1st Reading – Acts 8:5-8, 14-17; Ps.65; 2nd Reading – 1Pt.3:15-18; Gospel – Jn.14:15-21]

“HE IS WITH YOU HE IS IN YOU”

Jesus starts today’s teaching with a conditional statement: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments”.  Loving the Lord and keeping his commandment is therefore put on the same level in today’s gospel.  This, according to Jesus’ teaching, will lead to other consequences in one’s relationship with him.  One of these consequences is that the same relationship one has with Jesus will be shared also with the Father and with the Holy Spirit.

While Jesus says that he will tell the Father about this relationship, Jesus will also ask Him to send the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus calls “Advocate” and “Spirit of Truth”.  He is going to be “another” Advocate sent by the Father to be with his disciples, forever.  Jesus seems to be saying that he, Jesus, was the first Advocate to his disciples.  Since, now he cannot stay with them forever, the Father is going to send someone else, the Holy Spirit, who will continue what Jesus has started… and be with Jesus’ disciples forever.  Jesus continues his teaching by explaining to his disciples who this Advocate is and what he will do.  Jesus says that this Advocate is also the Spirit of truth, and he adds that the world can never receive him because the world neither sees him nor knows him.  This implies that those who love Jesus, and therefore keep his commandments, will see and know the Advocate, the Spirit of Truth.  In fact, Jesus himself says that they already know him because he (the Advocate) is with them, he is in them…  What the disciples understood by these words is not revealed to us.

At this point, Jesus decides to change subject.  He does not speak about this “Advocate” anymore, but starts to speak about himself.  He assures the disciples that he is not going to leave them orphans, and that he will come back to them.  Jesus is alluding to his death and to his resurrection.  He says that in a short time, the world will not see him, but they, his disciples, will see him, because he lives and, through him, they too will live.  It is interesting that Jesus says that the world will not see him.  If he is speaking about his death, how is it that only the world is not going to see him, while the disciples will?  It is because of their faith that they will do so.  They will see him not only after the resurrection, but also during the time when the world will not.  They will still see him through the eyes of faith.  The Spirit of truth will help them to arrive at the truth about Jesus.  Jesus had quite often spoken about his death and resurrection… Therefore what Jesus was telling them at this particular moment about the Advocate, whom they know because he is with them and in them, is going to help them see Jesus, even when the world will not see him. They will see him because he still lives and their faith will help them see him… alive.  In addition to faith, one has to keep in mind Jesus’ Resurrection.  The resurrection will be clear evidence that he is alive… and the Holy Spirit who is in them will help them see Jesus alive.  It is the Holy Spirit who will help them understand who Jesus is, in relationship to the Father.  And if the Holy Spirit reveals to them the Jesus’ relationship with the Father, he will also reveal their own relationship with both Jesus and the Father.

Jesus says that he is in the Father and they are in Jesus.  Therefore they are also in the Father since Jesus himself is in the Father.  At the same time, Jesus says that his disciples are in him and he is in his disciples. Thus the disciples participate in the relationship of the Father and of the Son and therefore also of the Holy Spirit.  This relationship is linked with what Jesus was saying in the beginning of today’s teaching, that those who love him will keep his commandments.  Now Jesus says that anybody who receives his commandments and keeps them will be the one who loves Jesus.  Those who love him will be in turn loved by the Father.  Jesus too will love them and furthermore Jesus will show himself to them.  In this way the person will get to know Jesus better because the Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of truth and in the disciple will help that same person know Jesus.

Knowing and loving Jesus, therefore, means having a fruitful relationship with him.  This relationship will be shared by the Father and the Holy Spirit, who, being the Spirit of Truth, will help the disciple get to know himself better in his relationship with Jesus.  This, in turn, means that one will also know Jesus better.  This will then help the disciple consolidate his relationship with the Father and with the Holy Spirit.

“Lord, you spoke about yourself and about the Father and the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes it is difficult to understand what you mean.  Yet sometimes we know exactly what you want to say.  Give us the help that we need to create a true relationship with you and with the Holy Spirit to understand better ourselves and be ready to do the Father’s will.  Thank you Lord!”

 

Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo http://www.stpatrickwaterloo.org.uk/ )

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