May 14, 2023
The reading from the gospel of John (14:15-21) in our Mass today, begins with Jesus telling his disciples, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments and I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always.” Even as Jesus is preparing the disciples for his departure, he wants to let them know they are not alone. He will always be with them and will send them another Advocate to be with them, the Spirit of truth, “whom the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows him. But you know him, because he remains with you and will be in you.” He wants to encourage them by telling them he will not leave them “orphans.” Having had Jesus at their side while preaching to the Gentiles, the thought of preaching to strangers alone would have been daunting at least. Now they were being told to go out to all the world and tell the good news.
Christ knew that the new apostles would be fearful. They were going to face strangers and people who knew nothing about God or Christ, some of whom were fearful of the followers of Jesus since the Romans had crucified Him. But Jesus promises his disciples that he would be with them in spirit and that the Holy Spirit would enlighten them and help them to know what to say to inspire strangers to come to know Jesus Christ. The apostles were being challenged to trust Jesus completely and they were given the grace to be ready to bring the message of Christ to the whole world.
Sometimes we find ourselves a bit envious that the early apostles had Jesus give them his word that he would be with them, that the Holy Spirit would enlighten them and help them to know what to say to inspire strangers to come to know Christ. What we just might miss is that Jesus knew the early apostles needed help and grace and so do we as well. What we are reminded of is that we are the apostles of our age and are also called to “spread the good news.” We know that those in our readings today, who were sent to bring the words of Christ to the whole world, were the first disciples, but we are among the disciples of our age and Christ stands with us. As we wait for Pentecost to come, we may also reflect on how we can become more like those first disciples who now rejoice with those whom they were responsible for having to be baptized while on earth and now rejoice with them in heaven. Perhaps we can do the same.
John 14: 15-21
Jesus said to his disciples:
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
And I will ask the Father,
and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always,
the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept,
because it neither sees nor knows him.
But you know him, because he remains with you,
and will be in you.
I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
In a little while the world will no longer see me,
but you will see me, because I live and you will live.
On that day you will realize that I am in my Father
and you are in me and I in you.
Whoever has my commandments and observes them
is the one who loves me.
And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.
If there were not,
would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back again and take you to myself,
so that where I am you also may be.
Where I am going you know the way.”
Thomas said to him,
“Master, we do not know where you are going;
how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, AI am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you know me, then you will also know my Father.
From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him,
“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.
The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,
or else, believe because of the works themselves.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father.”