Just like last week’s gospel, this passage also comes from the
Last Supper discourse in the Gospel of John. Again, although its
original context was pre-crucifixion, the language works in the
post-resurrection Easter season as we anticipate the celebration
of the Ascension next week. This double purpose language is, of
course, no accident. The gospel was written 60 or more years after
the death and resurrection of Jesus and so the writer was consciously
conveying the double meaning of ‘going away’: Jesus going to his
death; and Jesus going back to the Father. But Jesus also promises
his return in this speech. Continuing the double meaning, the
gospel writer knew that Jesus had come good on his promise to
return after his death and so conveys to the gospel audience,
and to us, a sense of confidence and hope that the second promised
return will also be fulfilled at the right time.
In the meantime, Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit to the
disciples and to the world. The Holy Spirit is to be the Advocate
(the Paraclete) of the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit performs
a dual purpose: firstly, to carry on the teaching; and secondly,
to continue to remind the believers of all that Jesus said and
did. The action of the Holy Spirit continues in the world today
– inspiring and teaching those who are open to hearing and keeping
alive the memory of Jesus, his teaching and his compassion. We
talk about being full of school spirit and team spirit but these
feelings of loyalty and commitment are only a distant echo of
what it is to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
© Fr Greg Sunter
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Acts 15:1-2. 22-29
The Apostles decide not to burden the Gentiles unnecessarily.
Ps 66:2-3. 5-6. 8. R. v.4
Rv 21:10-14, 22-23
An angel shows John the new Jerusalem.
Rv 22:12-14. 16-17. 20
cf. Jn 14:18
Jesus leaves peace as his farewell.