Friday, April 25, 2008

A Commentary for the 6th Sunday of Easter by Sr. Antoinette Purcell, OSB

Reflection on the Gospel of John 14:15-21

"I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth."  It is suggested that "Advocate" is more accurately translated as "Paraclete" from the Greek, "parakletos" meaning "helper" or literally, "called to one's side."  Jesus says the Father will give us another paraclete or helper which implies that we already have one.  That one is of course, Jesus, who has been our advocate, paraclete or helper.  Jesus is the one who revealed truth to us during his time on earth.  As he goes, he sends the Spirit to be our Advocate, Paraclete or Helper on earth.

At the death of a Rabbi, his disciples were considered as orphans.  But Jesus tells us that he does not leave us as orphans because he will come back to us in the form of the Spirit. With the Spirit as our Advocate, Paraclete, Helper, we can see God through his indwelling presence in self, others, Scripture and creation. 

Obedience to God's commandment prepared us to receive the gifts which God desires to give us.  God's commandment boils down to love and mercy.  When we are loving and merciful, as God is loving and merciful, then we realize that we are one with the Father just as Jesus is one with the Father.  It is the Spirit who helps us to be loving and merciful as God.  When we love as God loves then we see the truth about our self, about others, and about our world because the Spirit of Truth who remains with us helps us to see. This is the truth that sets us free.  We are not hindered by a false self that distorts our vision so our love is like God's love that is always free and full of mercy.

As Christians, we know we can be tempted to feel scattered and isolated in a culture that does not share our faith.  Christ is our rule of life and his words come to life in our hearts through the indwelling of the Spirit. The more we venerate the Spirit in our hearts, the more deeply the  Spirit can lead us to the truth and the greater our ability to know Christ and live by his commandment.  Take a few moments to get in touch with the Spirit dwelling within you who is our Advocate, Paraclete, Helper.

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