As we are drawing closer to the Ascension of Our Lord, which celebrates the Risen Lord’s enthronement and the feast of Pentecost, which celebrates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Mary and the Apostles, the Gospel for this Sunday (John 14:2329) is leading us to these two events.
The Gospel for this Sunday is the Farewell Discourse of Jesus, which encompasses the parting words of Jesus to his disciples assuring them of the divine Paraclete. A Paraclete is one who encourages, persuades, exhorts, stirs up, urges forward and call for newness of life.
The Holy Spirit is the Risen Lord’s new and intimate presence to the Church. With Ascension, the physical presence of Jesus comes to an end and his presence is replaced by something far more wonderful, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, who unites all of us to Jesus and his heavenly Father. It is through the Holy Spirit that Jesus has given to his Church, the power which propels and energizes the Church to proclaim the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
In our day today life of the Church, the Paraclete not only encourages but also gives strength to the believers. He is the one who teaches them about everything that Jesus has taught and testified with his deeds. The Holy Spirit is also the heart and soul of the Church’s living tradition, guiding her in the various situations confronting the Church.
Guided by the Holy Spirit, the Church teaches authentically the divine truth revealed by Jesus Christ. The truth never changes; but it is applied to new situations. The Gospel truth does not depart from its original deposit of faith. Change takes place, as guided by the Holy Spirit in interpreting the Truth and adapting herself to the new situations.
In fact, after the departure of Jesus in Ascension, the Church has been solving all the problems, which she confronted, relying on the power of the Holy Spirit. As long as we have the power of Jesus in the Holy Spirit, the Church will remain strongly founded on the rock.
God bless you,
Fr. Arul Joseph V.