Fr. Joseph Pham Quoc Van, O.P.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
We are at the end period of Easter Season. The Gospel Reading of today from St. John continues the Farewell Discourse of Jesus. The reading tells us Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit. Truly, in the gospel passage, 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 Bible assigns several different names to the Holy Spirit - the Consoler, the Advocate, the Sanctifier, and the Paraclete. The bible tells us that the Holy Spirit protects and defends us against our Ancient Enemy. In the Gospel Reading Jesus calls him the Advocate, the Spirit of truth who will live in the hearts of Christians to console and to guide them. The Holy Spirit is our Advocate, the One who stands with us. When Jesus promised an Advocate to his disciples, he was telling them that he would be with them in this Spirit just like he had been with them in Palestine. The disciples need not be troubled or afraid because they will never be alone. The Holy Spirit, the Advocate, will always be with them to defend them, to intercede for them, and to comfort them.
Today, while we trust Jesus for our salvation, it is the Holy Spirit who is our ever present help, comfort and counsellor in the same way Jesus was to the disciples two thousand years ago. Therefore, we should look for the gifts of the Holy Spirit to work within us. We need the Holy Spirit because He assures us we belong to God; we need the Holy Spirit because Jesus promised He would come; we need the Holy Spirit to illuminate and help us to understand Scripture; we need the Holy Spirit because He makes us more Christ-like through the sanctification process; and we need the Holy Spirit because He equips us for service.
The most important consequence of the presence of Holy Spirit in our lives is what St. Paul tells us when he writes, “God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!” (Gal 4:6). The Holy Spirit is our advocate, our counsel, in order that we might defend ourselves. He tells us that even when we have sinned we can repent and be forgiven. We are, He reminds us, being redeemed sinners because God loves us; we have been adopted into the family of God, we are children of God, we are called to love God.
My dear brothers and sisters,
Jesus said to us: “Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.” We are reminded today that we are called to love Jesus; that is part of the Christian calling. Those who keep Christ's commandments will, he promises, receive the Holy Spirit. By the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus was raised from the dead into new life; and now, by the power of that same Holy Spirit we also can be raised into a new, better, and higher life. In all these ways, when we have a powerful divine Spirit, who will stand with us to advise and protect us, we are never alone, even at the darkest moments. Amen.