Our Gospel today is a continuation of the Lord’s final discourse to His disciples, given at the Last Supper.
At the beginning of our selection and at the end, Jesus says the same thing to His disciples, including us: If you love me, you will keep my commandments and whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me.
But Jesus knows that keeping His commandment of love is a challenge for us. It is hard to share. It is hard to forgive 70 times 7. It is hard to love an enemy. It is hard to be the Good Samaritan. And so, He assures us that He will not abandon us, that He will give us all the help we need. In our reading we hear, I will not leave you orphans and The Father will give you another Advocate to be with you always.
The “Advocate,” of course, is the Holy Spirit, whom we receive at baptism and confirmation. The Holy Spirit accompanies us through life, the Holy Spirit “advocates” for us, the Holy Spirit helps us find the right path, the Holy Spirit supports us as we struggle to live the great commandment of love. But we have to give the Holy Spirit time and space to speak to us. We do that by reflective listening to the scriptures and homily at Mass, by reading the scriptures, and especially by carving out quiet time for reflection on the questions and challenges of life.
Our readings this Sunday move from resurrection stories to preparing us to celebrate Pentecost, the feast of the Holy Spirit. I invite us to spend some time during these last two weeks before Pentecost reflecting on what a great gift the Holy Spirit is in our lives, asking ourselves if we spend enough time listening to the Holy Spirit and allowing our Advocate to help us as we navigate the complexities of life. The Spirit is always there. We just have to show up and listen. God bless.
Church sign of the week: Open your heart, open your mind, open your bible.