April 21, 2014
Dear brothers and sisters,
I am taking the good news today from John 14:15-20 — perfect for this Easter Monday.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.”
What a wonderful gift Jesus has given me. He has not left me orphaned; he dwells within me which is the meaning of “I will come to you” according to the New American Bible notes. Again, John describes an intimacy with Jesus and with God that is unlike the other gospels. He tells me that I am in Jesus and Jesus is in me. Since Jesus is in God His Father, so also am I in God my Father. The way I hold tight to Jesus, the way that I live in him, is to keep his command to love others.
That is how Jesus continues to live — in and through me as I love others. That is the Spirit of truth, the continuing revelation of God in the world through me. Moloney in The Gospel of John writes, “It is in the community’s ‘experience of the exalted Jesus in the midst of the worshipping community’ that the absent one is present to those who believe him, love him, and keep his commandments.” I had that experience of the exalted Jesus at the Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday night — in the embrace, in the eyes, in the words of those whom Jesus uses to love me. My task is to take his love into the world outside the doors of the church. Moloney posits, “All potential recipients of verse 20 are told that oneness with God is to be understood in terms of love. A response to the revelation of God in Jesus through the observance of his commandments is simultaneously a loving commitment to Jesus. Such love will be matched by the Father’s love for them, Jesus’ love for them, ad the ongoing revelation of Jesus to them even after his departure.”
The New American Bible notes also explain, “The Paraclete in John is a teacher, a witness to Jesus, and a prosecutor of the world, who represents the continued presence on earth of the Jesus who has returned to the Father.” Moloney adds, “[A]s a consequence of the gift of the Spirit-Paraclete this departure leads to a unique experience of life. This life flows from participation in the unity that exists between the Father and the Son, the intimacy of being loved by the Father and Jesus, and the ongoing revelation of God in and through Jesus as disciples experience the presence of the absent one in their worship.” Worshipping with others, loving others in obedience to his command, and revealing the Spirit of truth to others as the continuing revelation of God is how I show Jesus that I love him and am one with him and with the Father. A virtuous, deepening cycle — at least that’s how I experience it.