Sixth Sunday of Easter, 22nd May 2022

John 14:23–29

Jesus answered him, "Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me. "I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, "I am going away, and I am coming to you." If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe. "


In this gospel, Christ promised his apostles at the night before his death that when he returned to the Father, the Holy Spirit would be sent to them. He would teach them all things and recall to their minds all things and recall to their minds all that Christ had taught them.

In his discourse, Jesus told them that obedience to the teaching of Christ is the one way of proving one’s love for him. Further, true love of man for God will be reciprocated a hundredfold. The Holy Trinity will dwell with those who love God. They will live in God’s grace and in his presence.

However, Jesus reminds us that there are those who refuse to listen to Christ’s teaching. Yet this teaching is that of the Father, in whom they profess to believe. He was equal to the Father in his divinity. But when he took human nature for our sakes, he emptied himself of the glories and prerogatives that followed from it. He became the suffering servant, the one and only perfectly obedient man.

Following the completion of Christ’s mission on earth, through his death and his glorification in the resurrection, the role of the third person of the Blessed Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit, will begin in the Church.
The Holy Spirit will continue the revelation given by Christ. He will recall Christ’s teaching to the apostles’ minds and enables them to see the full meaning of all that he had said and done. Christ’s actions were revelation, also.

The Holy Spirit inspires the Church and individual Christians if they call on him in their need. He is at work today among us and among the separated brothers of the Church, helping and inspiring them towards that unity of which Christ prayed.

We should call on the Holy Spirit to help us daily, but we should call for his assistance especially when we have a serious decision to make. His role in the Church and in the lives of all Christians is to preserve and protect the revelation that God has given us.

There are times in the lives of many of us when we are tempted to doubt about what we are called on to believe, or to hesitate with regard to what we are called on to do. It is on such occasions that the help of the Holy Spirit is especially necessary. He will not fail us if we turn to him earnestly and sincerely.

“Peace be with you” was the Jewish salutation on meeting. But it had lost most of its original commutation which implied God’s blessing and friendship (please see Numbers 6:26). Christ is promising peace in its original meaning to his apostles, not in the loose, almost meaningless sense.

“I go away and I will come” refers to his appearance to them after the resurrection but perhaps even more to the “dwelling” of the Trinity in them after their justification and elevation to divine sonship.

Jesus continued that if they understood what Christ’s death and resurrection meant for them and for all men and women, they would rejoice at his departure.

Christ foretold his death and resurrection, with many of the circumstances of his death in detail. This made it much easier for the apostles, once they were convinced of the fact of his resurrection, to believe in his divinity and in the divine plan he had explained to them.

We can learn two things from today’s Gospel. One is that Jesus gently tries to prepare the disciples for the day when he will no longer be present to them in bodily form. Unlike us, who know the story, they did not know what was coming next, so they are confused. God helps us to grow even in times of confusion.

The other thing that we learn is that Jesus is inviting his followers not to cling to his physical presence, but to be open to a deeper way of being in relationship with Him. Often we find it hard to let go, and to embrace the new. But in clinging to the past, we are in danger of letting the present become dead to us. Amen.