THIS WEEK’S READINGS
God Speaks to Families Through the Sunday Readings
Acts of the Apostles 8:5-8,14-17
The people of Samaria accept the Gospel of Jesus proclaimed to them by Philip.
Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
1 Peter 3:15-18
Be ready to give explanation for your hope in Christ.
Jesus promises His disciples that He will send them another advocate, the Spirit of truth.
Background on the Gospel Reading
Today’s Gospel is a continuation of last week’s Gospel: Jesus is speaking to His disciples at the Last Supper. In today’s reading Jesus offers encouragement to His disciples, who will soon see Him Crucified. He reassures them that even though He will leave them, He will not abandon them. Instead He will send them the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, through whom the disciples will continue to live in union with Jesus.
Jesus uses the term Advocate to describe the Holy Spirit, whom the disciples will receive. An-other word used to describe the Holy Spirit is Paraclete, a legal term meaning “one who offers de-fense for another.” Note that Jesus says that He will send “another Advocate.” Jesus Himself is the first advocate, interceding for His disciples with the Father.
In today’s reading Jesus contrasts His impending departure with the permanence of the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus will leave to return to the Father, but the Holy Spirit will remain with the disciples.
Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the disciples will come to know and appreciate the unity of the Son and the Father. They will also understand that they too participate in the communion between the Father and the Son: “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in Me and I in you” (John 14:20).
Today’s reading is one example of the contrast that John’s Gospel presents between the community of disciples, to whom God will reveal Himself, and the unbelieving world, which will remain in darkness. The unbelieving world cannot accept the “Spirit of truth,” whom the disciples will receive. Only through the Spirit will God’s revelation and love be known.
The mystery of the Trinity can be difficult for us to grasp. Today’s Gospel invites us to consider how the three persons—Father, Son and Holy Spirit— work together so that God’s salvation is made known to us. Jesus’ mission is continued through the activity of the Holy Spirit in the lives of His disciples. We have received this same Spirit through our Baptisms. The Spirit, living and working within us, reveals the mystery of God’s love for us. Just as the first disciples were not left orphaned, we are not orphaned; we remain in God’s embrace through the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Gather your family and invite each family member to say what he or she knows about the Ho-ly Spirit. Read aloud today’s Gospel, John 14:15-21. What does Jesus say the Holy Spirit will do for the disciples? Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, we come to share in the love of God made known to us in Jesus. Pray together, thanking God for this gift of the Holy Spirit by praying the Prayer to the Holy Spirit.