The Lord's Day" Gospel Reflection for May 17, 2020, Sixth Sunday of Easter (John 14: 15-21) Featured
Nicholas Pierlot gives a reflection on John 14: 15-21 ("I shall ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you for ever...") as part of our The Lord's Day Sunday Gospel reflection series.
To assist in this time, St. Therese Institute would like to share some resources to keep your Sabbath day holy.
- Magnificat has made available a free, online subscription to their monthly publication of daily prayer, mass readings, and reflections by saints and pertinent theologians. A free PDF of the Sunday mass readings (using the NAB translation), with reflections, a form of liturgy of the hours, etc. is available at this link: ENGLISH https://us.magnificat.net/free FRENCH https://canada.magnificat.net/
As quoted from their website, Magnificat is:
"... a spiritual guide to help you develop your prayer life, grow in your spiritual life, find a way to a more profound love for Christ, and participate in the holy Mass with greater fervor."
Magnificat is a monthly publication designed for daily use, to encourage both liturgical and personal prayer. It can be used to follow daily Mass and can also be read at home or wherever you find yourself for personal or family prayer."
- Another good resource is Universalis.com. This is a free web resource that contains the Liturgy of the Hours and the daily mass readings with helpful instructions and various service. As well, one can use Canada's lectionary by selecting it in the settings.
It is our hope that these resources may support your life of prayer and devotion.
- First Reading – Acts 8:5-8,14-17
- Responsorial – Psalm 66
- Second Reading – 1 Peter 3:15-18
- Gospel – John 14:15-21
John 14: 15-21 – Sunday Gospel Reflection – Sixth Sunday of Easter
Nicholas Pierlot, Assistant Director of Formation, St. Therese Institute of Faith and Mission
May 17, 2020
In this Sunday’s Gospel, we see mentioned “another Advocate”. Positioned after Christ’s command to keep his teachings and practices, we are promised that this Advocate will be with us forever and that he is a “Spirit of truth” (Jn 14:17). This Advocate is the Holy Spirit, and reflecting on this passage and the Holy Spirit reveals an important lesson about how human life and action properly proceed.
Examining what the title of ‘advocate’ meant for the ancient world can help us to understand more clearly what the Holy Spirit offers us. The Greek word used is paraklētos, commonly translated into the English as ‘advocate’ or in other places as ‘helper’. In the ancient world, this was a legal term, usually designating the spokesman who defends the accused in the courtroom. Giving defense, council, strength, and support are all activities that accompany the role of the advocate. In applying this title to the Holy Spirit, Jesus informs us that the Holy Spirit offers all these things.
A question might be asked: why do we need such an advocate? One reason is our weakness. As St. Paul says “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” (Rom 7:15). In our broken humanity, we cannot help but return to patterns of sin, addiction, and bitterness. Along with the scriptures, we all intuitively understand that using self-reliance to get out of this mess is insanity. The Holy Spirit helps us to break the cycle by healing us, saving us, counselling us, and giving us his gifts and power.
But the Holy Spirit does more: he balances us. Reflecting on the Gospel passage, we see a fundamental relationship is drawn between ‘being’ in love with Jesus and ‘keeping’ his commandments. The problem is that this relationship is not easy, giving rise to constant, tense problems throughout Christian history. On the one hand, we Christians can swing toward a missionary activism and a legalistic emphasis on morality. This is an overly exterior vision of Christian life. On the other hand, sometimes we veer toward quietism, focussing so much on’ being with God’ that we neglect human action, neglecting Christ’s exhortation for us to participate in embodying the heavenly Father’s perfection (cf. Mt 5:48). By keeping close to the Holy Spirit, who according to St. Augustine is the Love shared between the Father and the Son, we come to love Jesus. By being docile to the promptings of the Advocate, we know when and how we should act.
The Holy Spirit as Advocate is the source of our strength. Christ never promised that we would not have suffering or hard things to do. However, he did promise that the yoke would be easy and the burden light. For those in love, all burdens are better. By giving us his love and council, the Holy Spirit restores our being, enables us for our tasks, and aids us to grow closer to our Lord Jesus.
Nicholas Pierlot is the Assistant Director of Formation at St. Therese Institute of Faith and Mission in Bruno, SK, where Sacred Scripture is one of his favourite topics to instruct on. Nick holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Prince Edward Island and M.A. in Catholic Applied Theology from the Maryvale Institute in Birmingham, England. He lives in Bruno with his wife Denise, their daughter Rosé. They are expecting a new addition to the family this summer.
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