The advocate

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila - The Freeman

It is already the sixth Sunday after Easter that means we are already on our second month of fasting in the Holy Eucharist. At this point, we would like to appeal to our Church leaders to already prepare themselves for the new normal when we reopen our churches. By this I mean that, we must observe the use of facemasks and physical distancing, especially when seated on the pews. I suggest that our various parish priests should now prepare our churches for the resumption of church services. Meanwhile our gospel reading today is about the advocate that you can find in John 14: 15-21.

15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

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In our gospel reading today, our Lord Jesus talks about the Holy Spirit, whom he calls the Spirit of Truth. As he told his disciples, this is the Spirit who reveals to me the truth of who I am - a child of God within whom God lives. I hold within myself a spark of the divine! I sit quietly with this thought in the presence of God.

At this point in his Galilean Ministry, our Lord is preparing his disciples for the imminent ending of his ministry, which would mean his crucifixion on the cross. No doubt that our Lord Jesus is very much aware that the imminent loss of his physical presence would be a big blow for his disciples, which is why he reassures them “‘I will not leave you orphaned”. The loss of his physical presence will be made up to them by the sending of the Holy Spirit, who will be with them permanently.

There is no doubt that the Holy Spirit is considered the third person in the Holy Trinity. We must remember that during the annunciation of our Lord by the Angel Gabriel in Nazareth to his Mother Mary, she replied, “How can this be when I have no relations with man?” In Luke 1:35-38 we read “5 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.”

So even before our Lord Jesus Christ was born, the Holy Spirit overshadowed the Blessed Virgin Mary so she could conceive her son, our Lord Jesus Christ. This is part of the mystery of the Blessed Trinity, which we must never forget the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

For the past two months we have really felt the loss and abandonment with the closure of our churches, due to COVID-19 especially our celebration of the Holy Mass where we receive the holy body, blood, soul, and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. However only a few Catholics especially those “Anawim” who remain faithful to God during difficult times know within their hearts that the Holy Spirit continues to guide and inspire us into new and creative forms of communicating the Good News in ways that are relevant to today’s pandemic world.

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