Acts of the Apostles 15:1-2,22-29
The early Church community determines, with the help of the Holy Spirit, not to impose the requirement of circumcision on Gentile Christians.
A prayer that all the nations sing praise to God.
The vision of the splendor of the heavenly Jerusalem is described.
Jesus promises his disciples that the Father will send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.
Whoever does not love me does not keep my words;
yet the word you hear is not mine
but that of the Father who sent me.
“I have told you this while I am with you.
The Advocate, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in my name,
will teach you everything
and remind you of all that I told you.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me tell you,
‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’
If you loved me,
you would rejoice that I am going to the Father;
for the Father is greater than I.
And now I have told you this before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe.”
Background on the Gospel Reading
This portion of John’s Gospel comes near the end of the first of four chapters that make up Jesus’ long farewell discourse at the Last Supper. This section of chapter 14 actually sums up the themes of the opening of the discourse: the Christian’s life is not shaped by Jesus’ absence but by God’s abiding presence; God’s presence overcomes anxiety about God’s absence; and the present holds in it the seeds of a fresh future shaped by love, not fear.
These verses also contain a glimpse of some of the other themes of the farewell discourse: Jesus’ relationship with the Father and the disciples’ relationship to Jesus connect the disciples to the Father as well. Jesus promises to send an Advocate or intercessor who will remind the disciples of everything that Jesus taught them and bring them peace.
Jesus is preparing his disciples in advance for his absence so that they will continue to believe in him and not feel all alone after his return to the Father. After the initial excitement of his Easter appearances, Jesus will remain with his followers in a very different way throughout the centuries.
As our celebration of the Easter season is coming to an end, the liturgy reminds us that Jesus remains with us through the Holy Spirit, who teaches us everything we need to know, reminds us of all that Jesus taught, and brings us peace.
Parents are always helping their children prepare for something, whether that consists of getting ready for school, preparing for an exam, or making preparations to go on vacation. In today’s Gospel, Jesus prepares his disciples for his Passion, death, and Resurrection. He promises his Holy Spirit, gives them the gift of his peace, and tells them not to be troubled.
As a family, talk about the kinds of events that you have prepared for together; surgeries, funerals, vacations, and first days of school are some examples. Talk about why it is important to prepare for important events in our lives. Then read aloud this Sunday’s Gospel: John 14:23-29. Talk about how Jesus prepared his disciples for his Death and Resurrection and how he wanted them to be prepared for what would happen so that they would be able to believe.
Talk about how, as a family, you can prepare for Pentecost (only 2 weeks away), when we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit, our Advocate.
Sources: Loyola Press; Sunday Readings