Gospel Reflections

John 14:15 - 21

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Honorine Yamba

Published: May 21, 2017

The message of the season following the resurrection speaks to us of the infinite love of God- become-human who has vanquished death.  It includes a series of messages of peace, love and joy. This Sixth Sunday also troubles us in a way because the message about a goodbye is disturbing to the apostles. Although everything revolves around love, there is a trace of shadow there, as well. 

If we are asked about the word love, each of us will respond according to our own understanding, personal experience, family background, culture, tradition, etc. To know how to live a person needs to have been loved.  Before speaking about his Father, Jesus experienced life with Joseph. In the time of Jesus it was often the father who showed his son the details of his own work. In the past, the work of the father was inherited by the son.  Between Jesus and his disciples a close relationship developed.  For them it was similar to a father passing on wisdom.  In our own lives, how often do we refer to the past, to a memory which has become like a thread in our own life. Saint Julie insisted that her Sisters be a reference point for the generations to come.  

In this passage, the word is of capital importance. Jesus wished to express to his disciples the experience of his own intimacy with his heavenly Father.  He is so in tune with his Father that he speaks about him saying:  “The word which you hear is not mine; it is that of the Father who sent me.” It is similar to the African proverb, “My head belongs to me but the packaging is not mine.”  Jesus is the one sent by God his Father.  Even in the face of death, he said, “Not my will but yours be done.”

When we meditate on similar texts, we dream and strive to enter into intimacy with God. The easiest way is love. Verse 15 says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”  Jesus does not say, “If you keep my commandments I will love you.”  But Jesus says, “The one who knows my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me.”  Sisters of Notre Dame and others – do we dare to continue to speak of love with those who are confided to us? 

Although the apostles wanted to have more time with Jesus, He spoke to them of goodbyes. How could they not be troubled!  Jesus knew what awaited him, he was not worried. Jesus made this promise and said that he would assure its realization. He would intercede and in his name the Father would send the Paraclete. 

Is the image of the Paraclete still spoken about today? It is traditional that wisdom is transmitted through the family, and that is where Jesus found the images which symbolized the relationship of humans with God. So many families are broken today. We know that knowledge is shared more and more by the school or by computer. The internet has become an immense source from which we learn what we want to know.  Every life-giving word is spoken by a person who is invested in it completely with all one is, thinks and does.

The Spirit not only reminds us of the words of Jesus, but, as paraclete, interprets and translates them into the context of the daily life of each disciple. Not only does that same Spirit interpret them, but also enables them to come alive. The wisdom transmitted by the words of Jesus is like computer software: it can inform our thoughts and actions. And it is the Spirit of the Father who brings this information, the Spirit to life who is a force of love.  

In contrast to the experience of the disciples, we do not experience the grief of losing the corporal presence of Jesus because we have never known him in this way.  (2 Co 5:16).  But we do have the opportunity to live and witness to the presence of the Risen One who remains in us. 

In what specific ways do we do this?

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