6th Sunday of Easter | Year A
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘If you love me you will keep my commandments.
I shall ask the Father,
and he will give you another Advocate
to be with you for ever,
that Spirit of truth
whom the world can never receive
since it neither sees or knows him;
but you know him,
because he is with you, he is in you.
I will not leave you orphans;
I will come back to you.
In a short time the world will no longer see me;
but you will see me,
because I live and you will live.
On that day
you will understand that I am in my Father
And you in me and I in you.
Anybody who receives my commandments and keeps them
will be the one who loves me;
and anybody who loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I shall love him and show myself to him.’
It is difficult to imagine what the disciples thought when Jesus said he would give them “the Spirit of truth”, who would be with them forever. But those puzzling words, together with the assurance that they would not be orphans, must have provided some relief from their anxieties about the future.
Jesus has given us the same assurances that we are not alone. It is not always easy to remember this in the midst of turmoil or anxiety, and we often try to resolve everything ourselves. We don’t necessarily think clearly under stress, nor do we always have a full picture of the situation. Acknowledging that we cannot resolve a difficult situation, and inviting the Holy Spirit into it is an act of faith in Jesus’ assurance that the Spirit will always be with us. This step does require us to cease trying to manage matters ourselves, and instead to listen and watch before acting. The Holy Spirit’s solutions are often quite different from ours.
The Spirit of truth is not only a problem-solver in our lives. Receiving the commandments is the first step in loving Jesus. Only if we acknowledge their existence and their relevance can we take the second step of trying honestly to keep them.
It is the Spirit which leads us into this honesty and into this concrete expression of our love for Jesus, taking us deeper and deeper into the love which is the essence of the Trinity.
Jesus first told the disciples that the “Spirit of truth” would be with them, and then he told them that this presence would be intimate and personal - “you know him, because he is with you, he is in you”.
We have the gift of that same intimate presence.