Dear Friends in Christ,
The loss of hope can be a traumatic experience for us. It can lead to a sense of uselessness, fear, despair and even violence. It occurs when we can see no imminent answer or solutions to an issue that is present in our lives. It can occur when we experience health problems, illness, financial issues, the illness or death of a close relative or friend. It is at times like these that we benefit from the presence of strong individuals. These people can be for us a source of strength. They can allow us to view the issue at hand in a broader perspective, and as such to regain the hope that was initially lost.
This is like the situation that is presented to us in our Gospel reading [John 14:15-21]. Here Jesus, as he prepares his disciples for his eventual departure, reminds them that he will not leave them alone. He will not leave them orphans [v.18]. He reassures them that he will send them ‘another Advocate’, [v.16] the ‘Spirit of truth’ who will help them to develop and strengthen his word within them, allowing them to show their love for him by remaining faithful to that word. He assures them that in doing this they will be sharing in the unique oneness of the relationship that he, Jesus, shares with his Father. In a few verses from today’s Gospel [v. 22-24], Jesus gives his disciples the comforting news that ‘those who love him will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.’
What an incredible and comforting promise Jesus makes to his disciples – and to us- with these words. All that is required of us is to love and remain faithful to the words given to us by Jesus. This Gospel passage reminds us of the fruits and rewards that are available to us if we continue to love Jesus and remain faithful to his words. It becomes for us a source of encouragement knowing that he has sent the Spirit into our Church and into our lives, who will lead us to the truth of the Trinity. The challenge before us is to recognise the presence of this ‘other Advocate’ – the Spirit of Truth, especially in those critical times when we find life spinning out of control or when we are in difficult and confronting situations. It is at these times that we need to recognise that Jesus has not left us orphans or desolate. May we continually rejoice in this knowledge. And may we always allow Jesus and the Father to make a home within us.
Fr Robert Bossini
Dean and Parish Priest