May 25, 2014
6th Sunday of Easter
This Gospel is part of what is known as the Last Supper Discourse. They had a
difficulty understanding this when they heard it before the Passion, Death and
Resurrection of Jesus. We hear it, not only after these events, but also after
both the Ascension and Pentecost. We also have two thousand years of
Christianity behind us that provides us with the reflections, teachings and
experiences of the presence of the Triune God in our lives and the life of the
Church. It is difficult for us to capture the emotion of the Apostles when
they heard Jesus give them this farewell instruction. He would not leave them
orphans and would send another Advocate to be with them. Why was he leaving
them? Where was he going? Would they ever see him again? What were they to do
next? are probably some of the questions that went through their minds. In his
discourse Jesus answers these questions.
Gospel John 14: 15 - 21
He begins by making the statement; "If you love me, you will keep my
commandments." Jesus teaches us to view commandments in a new way, that was
different than how the first followers had been taught by the Pharisee
Commandments are not merely a list of behaviors to be followed or avoided out
of duty. Commandments are to be lived as an act of love. If we love someone we
do what pleases them. This love moves us to do things we might not want to do,
and even things that we might see as being difficult or a sacrifice. Jesus
calls us to look at the commandments through the prism of love and to live them
out of our love for God..
Jesus promised the apostles the Advocate. This is the Holy Spirit we received
at Baptism and Confirmation. In two weeks we complete the Easter Season with the
Celebration of Pentecost. This Gospel serves as a good reminder to prepare for
Pentecost. On the day of your Confirmation the Bishop, or Administer of that
Sacrament, said, "Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit." Jesus is
preparing the Apostles for the Advocate, the Holy Spirit. We are sealed with
the Holy Spirit. Prepare for Pentecost by claiming that gift. Take time to
realize all that the Holy Spirit has to offer us and don't hesitate to call upon
this gift to strengthen and guide us.
Finally, Jesus speaks of unity. There is the unity of the Trinity that he
speaks about as he teaches us about the Advocate, and revealing to us that he
and the Father are one. Jesus invites us to experience the Love of our Father,
The grace that flows from him, and the unity of the Holy Spirit that binds them
into one God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
There is also the unity of the believers to Christ. Jesus taught that,
"Whatever you do to the least of my brothers you do to me." St. Paul
experienced this on the road to Damascus when he heard the voice say, "Why do
you persecute me." The unity of the body of Christ - of us with Christ - should
not be underrated. It is a beautiful part of God's love that binds us to him.
All of this comes from the unconditional love God has for us. Reflect on all
that God has done for us and is doing for us out of this great love. Who would
not want to love in return, and thus follow his commandments?
Fr. Killian Loch, O.S.B.