Photo illustration by Phil Younk
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Based on: Acts 8:5-8, 14-17; 1 Pt 3:15-18; Jn 14:15-21

This Sunday’s Gospel continues the flashback to the Last Supper when Jesus gave his farewell address to his disciples that we heard in last week’s Gospel reading. As we return to Jesus’ last meal with his disciples before he dies, Jesus reminds the disciples that if they love him, they will keep his commandments, even after he is gone.

If they do this, Jesus will ask his Father, and God the Father will “give [them] another Advocate to be with [them] always.” That second Advocate (Helper, Comforter and Counselor) will be the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the first Advocate.

Through sending the Holy Spirit, Jesus remains with his disciples so that imitating his love for them, and living out that love for him, they can begin teaching the Gospel all over the world and continue Jesus’ work.
We, too, receive the Holy Spirit in a special way at our baptism and more so at our confirmation. The Holy Spirit is God’s gift to us, a sign of his love which strengthens us to follow God’s commandments.

If we love Jesus, we will keep his commandments. The commandments are laws of love – love of God, love of neighbor and love of ourselves. But living a life of love, as Jesus taught us, can be difficult, and even painful at times. That’s why Jesus said he would ask the Father to send “another Advocate” – the Spirit of truth – the Holy Spirit.  

As we try to live every day with love, even if we have to sacrifice to do so, the Holy Spirit is with us – “… He remains with you, and will be in you.” – just as Jesus promised. We will be judged on our love – our love for God lived out in our love for neighbor.

Holy Spirit, Spirit of truth, continue to strengthen us with courage and boldness to live our faith obediently, joyfully and generously so we can bring Jesus’ love into the lives of others.