Sixth Sunday of Easter – Cycle C
1st Reading - Acts: 15: 1-2, 22-29
Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 67: 2-3, 5, 6, 8
2nd Reading - Revelation: 21: 10-14, 22-23
Gospel – John 14: 23-29
Once again, we are not in chronological order. Today we are back to the Last Supper. This is the beginning of what is known as the “Farewell Discourse.” Before His passion and death, Jesus spoke words of comfort, love, and obedience to His disciples.
John was intent on having disciples look past Jesus’ suffering and death to His resurrection and heavenly reign. Jesus was preparing for and foreshadowing the peace His death and resurrection would bring. These words brought a sense of serenity and helped them not to be afraid.
Early believers thought that Jesus was coming right back.
Not only would He be right back, but He’d also fill the role of the Terminator in the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple which occurred around the year 70. When that didn’t happen, and then the eyewitnesses began to die, the hopes of a speedy return began to fade.
“Who will help us now?”
The Paraclete was the solution.
Jesus promised to provide for them by leaving them with the Counselor - The Holy Spirit. This fulfilled 3 functions:
It was the continued presence of Jesus on Earth.
It was a truth-telling Spirit that testified on behalf of Jesus and affirmed that they had not all been suckered into believing in some charismatic leader, but that He was the beloved of God and a dutiful son.
It reminded them of what He taught and continued to reveal truths that Jesus was unable to convey.
The Holy Spirit would teach them all things and help them to remember all that He had taught them. The Spirit is the gift and presence of Jesus in his absence.
It’s not easy to live a life in conformity to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. We have so many distractions in our day to day living that ONLY the Holy Spirit could empower us to remember with clarity the obedience that is needed to walk the Christian walk.
The peace Jesus leaves with us is not the peace the world gives. Peace is more than the absence of war and controversy. We’ve all been witness to the stories that the peace of Christ is not without personal struggle and difficulty. The true peace of Jesus is when our faith enables us to believe and understand that the ultimate victory over suffering is inevitable. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.
There is much emotion in this gospel. We really can relate if we stop and think about it. We’ve all had to say goodbye to someone we love. Even the simplest farewells, temporary goodbyes; perhaps from a parent to a child being left at the baby sitter.
”Honey, Granny’s going to take care of you when I’m gone.
Be a good boy, and mind your manners. Remember what I told you.
I’m just going to the store. I’ll be right back.”
We all must remember that the same spirit that Jesus Christ sent to care for those disciples has been sent to care for you. His words are for us today. His farewell rings true still today. Imagine that Jesus is speaking to you today.
“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 that I told you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.' If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe.”
What does one have to do to be saved? Does that seem easy or hard?
Are you afraid about your salvation? If so, what makes you feel afraid?
God dwells within you. What difference does this make to you?
Does this have any effect on your fears? If so, how?
What fears keep you from total peace? Is it possible to overcome our fears? What would be necessary?