Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle A

Sixth Sunday of Easter

 John 14: 14-21

"I will not leave you orphans"

Today’s passage is from the part of John's Gospel known as the Last Discourse of Jesus. It could be called his farewell address to his disciples. He is about to leave them and yet promises he will not leave them orphans. In some way, he says, he will always be with them. In what way might that be?

“I shall ask the Father”, says Jesus, “and he will give you another Advocate to be with you for ever … the Spirit of Truth”. That word Advocate is only one of several words that could translate the word used in the original – “Paraclete”. The full meaning of this title includes a rich mix of roles such as: advocate, helper, guide, counsellor, consoler, protector, intercessor, teacher, …

Notice that Jesus is to ask the Father to give the disciples "another Advocate". Jesus was the first. Until now he had been their teacher, helper and guide, their source of strength, unity and security, their hope and joy. Now the Holy Spirit was to come in Jesus' name to continue the role of Jesus in their midst, binding them together, reminding them of all that Jesus had said, helping them to understand more clearly what Jesus has revealed.

So it is now. Jesus does not leave any of us bereft as orphans. He will stay with believers forever through the gift of the Holy Spirit given to us in baptism and sealed in confirmation, who draws us together to become one body, one spirit in Christ. All life, all holiness comes to us “through Jesus Christ, our Lord, by the working of the Holy Spirit”. Whatever is Christ-like in us is due to the work of the Holy Spirit in us. Likewise, it is "by the working of the Holy Spirit" in us and through us, that the mission of Jesus in the world is being continued.