Gospel Reflection – Sixth Sunday of Easter
Malvern Minute

 

SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

MAY 21, 2017

ALLELUIA

Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord;

And my Father will love him and we will come to him!

ALLELUIA

 

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Saint John 14: 15-21

I WILL NOT LEAVE YOU ORPHANS

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, which 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.”

The Gospel of the Lord

REFLECTION

It is important to understand the historical setting in which Jesus utters the words that we hear in this Sunday’s Gospel.  Jesus and His disciples have assembled for the Passover Meal, his Last Supper.  Jesus has already washed the feet of the disciples, and now he begins a very personal and intimate period of instruction, encouragement and prayer for those he will be leaving behind after his death.  The disciples react and begin wondering where Jesus is going, and in turn, what he would be expecting of them in his absence.  These are legitimate questions, not only for the first disciples but for us as well.  Where is Jesus, and what does he expect of us in his physical absence.

Jesus speaking as a Father-Loving God assures the disciples of every age that he will not leave us orphans!  While Jesus has physically left our sight, he has fulfilled his promise by giving us another Advocate to be with (us) you always.   This Advocate is the Spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit of God.  This Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, the power and love of God that possessed, motivated and empowered Jesus Christ throughout his earthly ministry.  It is because of this abiding Holy Spirit that empowers the Church that Jesus in last Sunday’s Gospel could say with all confidence: whoever believes in me will do the works I do, and will do greater ones than these!

We are not orphans; we are adopted daughters and sons of God!  In Baptism, God truly adopted us.  Through the holy Sacrament of Baptism, God individually and personally chose us in Christ.  Scripture says that God decided this even before he laid the foundations of the world.   The Baptized possess incredible stature and dignity in the mind of God because through Baptism and Confirmation he (the Holy Spirit) remains with you, and will be in you!

Jesus explains how this communion with him is sustained during his physical absence: whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.  This Holy Communion of the Trinity is sustained by the exchange of love between us and God, a love that God transforms into a divine love.  Jesus invites us into this divine love as a gift of his Resurrection and Ascension.  By the gift of the New Advocate … we live and move and have our being … we share in the very life of God!  The Advocate is given to the Baptized as the full loving commitment of Christ!  Christ gives Himself to us in the person of the Holy Spirit so that we can offer ourselves to Christ and our neighbor.

We make our love for God real by keeping the commandments of Jesus, namely, love of God and love of neighbor: If you love me, you will keep my commandments.  Jesus who is speaking is the very WORD of GOD.  Therefore, the Commandments that Jesus is referring to are a true and real manifestation of Christ Himself.  To accept and love Jesus is to live and act in the manner of Christ.  Our conformity to His way of living makes our love real and tangible, and is the presence of the Holy Spirit with us.  By our love, the Holy Spirit unites us to Christ and fulfills the words of Jesus: On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.  Through the loving exchange, the Holy Trinity is revealed in and through us.

It would be an injustice to presume that today’s Gospel is merely a theoretical pronouncement.  From the lips of Jesus Christ, the Gospel is expressing the Way, the Truth and the Life of Jesus.  Because Jesus lived constantly in communion with the Father and Spirit, he was able to sacrifice himself completely for us.  When we live out the Commandment of Jesus to love God, we live and move and have our being in God; and in turn we have the power to sacrifice ourselves completely for our neighbor as Jesus did for us!

ENCOUNTERING THE DIVINE PHYSICIAN, JESUS CHRIST

Healing of the Paralytic (Luke 5: 17-26)

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