Acts of the Apostles 8:5-8,14-17
The people of Samaria accept the Gospel of Jesus proclaimed to them by Philip.
Sing praise to God, all the earth.
1 Peter 3:15-18
Be ready to give explanation for your hope in Christ.
Jesus promises his disciples that he will send them another advocate, the Spirit of truth.
Gospel JN 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.”
Background on the Gospel Reading
Today’s Gospel is a continuation of last week’s Gospel: Jesus is speaking to his disciples at the Last Supper. In today’s reading Jesus offers encouragement to his disciples, who will soon see him crucified. He reassures them that even though he will leave them, he will not abandon them. Instead he will send them the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, through whom the disciples will continue to live in union with Jesus.
Jesus uses the term Advocate to describe the Holy Spirit, whom the disciples will receive. Another word used to describe the Holy Spirit is Paraclete, a legal term meaning “one who offers defense for another.” Note that Jesus says that he will send “another Advocate.” Jesus himself is the first advocate, interceding for his disciples with the Father.
In today’s reading Jesus contrasts his impending departure with the permanence of the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus will leave to return to the Father, but the Holy Spirit will remain with the disciples.
Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the disciples will come to know and appreciate the unity of the Son and the Father. They will also understand that they too participate in the communion between the Father and the Son: “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you” (John 14:20).
Today’s reading is one example of the contrast that John’s Gospel presents between the community of disciples, to whom God will reveal himself, and the unbelieving world, which will remain in darkness. The unbelieving world cannot accept the “Spirit of truth,” whom the disciples will receive. Only through the Spirit will God’s revelation and love be known.
The mystery of the Trinity can be difficult for us to grasp. Today’s Gospel invites us to consider how the three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit— work together so that God’s salvation is made known to us. Jesus’ mission is continued through the activity of the Holy Spirit in the lives of his disciples. We have received this same Spirit through our Baptisms. The Spirit, living and working within us, reveals the mystery of God’s love for us. Just as the first disciples were not left orphaned, we are not orphaned; we remain in God’s embrace through the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Gather your family and invite each family member to say what he or she knows about the Holy Spirit. Read aloud today’s Gospel, John 14:15-21. What does Jesus say the Holy Spirit will do for the disciples? Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, we come to share in the love of God made known to us in Jesus. Pray together, thanking God for this gift of the Holy Spirit by praying the Prayer to the Holy Spirit.
Sources: Loyola Press; Sunday Readings