(Sixth Sunday of Easter – Year A)
This Sunday’s Gospel passage gives us the final instructions and prayers that Jesus gives to His Apostles before leaving them. He is going to leave them ‘twice’. First he is leaving them by sacrificing Himself on the cross, then later he will leave them after His resurrection through His being taken up out of their sight in the Ascension (The feast of Ascension is on Thursday, but in NZ it is shifted to next Sunday).
His parting words are a comforting reminder that though He will be leaving them, He will still be with them. He will send the Holy Spirit, the paráklētos (παράκλητος), which is Greek means, one who consoles or comforts, one who encourages or uplifts (i.e. refreshes); and/or one who intercedes on our behalf as an advocate in court”. It is precisely why the English translations use the words: paraclete, advocate, and consoler, to refer to the Holy Spirit.
The Apostles are to keep His commandments, and that is to love God with all their heart, soul and mind, and to love one’s neighbour as oneself (c.f. Matt 37-39). Love is the essential ingredient that is required for the enduring presence of the Holy Spirit, and indeed of the Son, and the Father. After all, GOD IS LOVE, a perfect relationship of love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.