But in the end…
Jesus stresses two times in our Sunday gospel that our actions as His disciples, must speak louder then words. When you choose to follow Him, it is imperative that you be actively involved in the building up the Kingdom of God. Just speaking nice words or praying beautiful prayers is not enough. ‘But in the end’, what matters most is how we have lived and kept His commandments. Jesus says that this will be proof of our true relationship with Him. In todays second reading Peter affirms this by writing; “Beloved: sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope” in Jesus Christ. ‘But in the end’, be sure that it is rooted in a deep-seated love for, and with the Lord.
It is worth taking note that Jesus refers specifically to the Spirit as Advocate or Paraclete and this is only mentioned in St. John’s Gospel. I prefer the word Paraclete because it is so rich a term that has at its root the meaning ‘called alongside’. That is a good way to understand the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Gods Spirit is His presence as Counselor, Mediator, Helper, or Comforter always at our side. In other words, a friend that we could all do with right now. Certainly, a friend that the disciples, on the brink of seeing their Lord crucified, their hopes crushed, and themselves scattered, will need if they are to experience the light of the resurrection.
I can relate to the need to have God's close friendship present in my life today. We are in the middle of Eastertime and it feels like I never left the desert experience of Lent. Now more than in Lent I feel paralyzed by our restrictions of movement, no current possibility to physically attend Mass, and not have to watch it on a TV or computer screen, and no real sight of the end of this pandemic. I feel hindered by a virus whereas His disciples felt hindered because they lost their friend and savior. I feel different from them because the light of Easter 2020 did not really bring an end to the Lenten Season this year. But I know that it will bring a new perspective of hope. How can I say this? Because I have been focusing on Pentecost Sunday which is yet to come…. on May 31stst. Also, it is necessary to look forward to the unifying power of the Holy Spirit that will get us out of this pandemic season. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that will again get us to understand Jesus when He called His disciples… friends. Such belief reassures me of the power of His Resurrection. ‘But in the end’, it is the Spirits presence that allows all of us to see and know Jesus and experience His love and friendship in yet another new way. “Those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them”, He said. This is the most intimate role of the Holy Spirit, He enables Jesus to show Himself to the believer, just as He personally appeared to the disciples after His resurrection.
The Paraclete or Advocate is the Spirit of God that brings us together as a church, the people of God, to take on this monster of a virus and any other evil that shows itself to us. It will be an opportunity to be filled with divine hope for our mortal situation. The Risen Christ’s promise of the Spirit is a mixed blessing: Gods Spirit can be ‘scary’, threatening our lives and lifestyles, confronting us with our irresponsibility and culpability—but that same Spirit opens our hearts and consciences to hear the voice of God in the frightening situation we all find ourselves in today.
On the New York Times parenting website, a dad tells of transforming his sons terror into possibility: “When my five-year-old son told me that there might be monsters in his closet, I grabbed a jar from the kitchen, and the little net from his fish tank, and said, ‘I hope we can catch one!’ After I made a big show of searching and came up empty-handed, he consoled me. Since we turned that fear into a game, not only was he not afraid of closet-monsters, he was very sorry there weren’t any.” As I said earlier…the Holy Spirit Jesus promises to give us, is at our side especially now. He will help us combat the Covid-19 virus and be free of all our worries. ‘But in the end’ never doubt Gods presence in our lives or its power! The Easter promise of peace and hope will be ours again! Remember that we proclaim Alleluia and do not give into defeat…ever!