Today we reflect further on the departure of Jesus.
He suggests to the disciples that his leaving
will not result in them feeling lost. Rather it
will mark the beginning of something new, which
will result from the coming of the Paraclete.
The central message is the result that follows
loving or not loving Jesus.
Paraclete meant ‘legal assistant’
or ‘advocate’, one who intercedes. Combined with
‘Spirit of truth’, it conveys the idea of guide,
comforter and teacher. This other Paraclete, who
will be with you forever, will not die, like the
first Paraclete (Jesus). His presence will be
ongoing and will remain forever as that of the
Spirit who communicates Truth, who will assure
those who love about all that God has revealed.
This is because there is a part of the world that
has rejected what Jesus has said about himself
and about the Father, and now cannot receive,
see or know the Spirit of Truth.
Every believing Jew recites
daily the Shéma Israel: Listen, Israel, the Lord
our God is the one Lord: you will love the Lord
your God with all your heart, with all your being
and with all your strength. This is the expression
of the Covenant. Jesus asks the disciples to love
him, to keep his commandments but they can still
say the Shéma, because He and the Father are one.
The disciples were familiar with the prophet Ezekiel:
I shall give you a new heart, and put a new spirit
within you; I shall remove the heart of stone
from your bodies and give you a heart of flesh
instead. [36:26] . Similar expressions can be
found in what other prophets said. The disciples
would have been aware of the promise of this new
spirit. They would have been accustomed to the
idea of God being present and abiding with his
people: from the Tent of Meeting in the desert
during the exodus from Egypt to the Temple in
Jerusalem. Now in the New Covenant, God would
abide in the heart of the believer, as promised:
Sing, rejoice, daughter of Zion, for I am coming
to dwell in the midst of you—it is the Lord who
speaks. [Zechariah 2:14].
Part of the world has not recognised
who Jesus is, but Jesus was sent not to condemn
the world, but so that through him the world might
be saved [John 3:17]. The spirit of the world
is opposed to the spirit of love. The disciples
are to bring about change “by contagion, neighbour
to neighbour”. Mission impossible? But Jesus said:
I will not leave you orphans; I will come back
to you . . . you will see me, because I live and
you will live.
• I will ask the Father and He will
give you . . . Do I really believe that the
Paraclete has been given? Do I ask the Lord
in prayer to be led to a better understanding
of truth, to see more clearly what the Word
of God might have to say to me?
• I will not leave you orphans. Do
I sometimes feel forsaken, lost or alone? Am
I aware of anyone else who may sometimes feel
• You know him, because he is with
you, he is in you. Jesus’ departure was to be
the beginning of something new! Given that he
is with us, he is in us, what difference can
this make to our lives? Everyone seems to talk
and sing about ‘love’ nowadays. Can we hear