6th Sunday of Easter – Year A
Fr. Jijo Kandamkulathy CMF
Gospel: John 14:15-21 (若14：15-21)
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to John,
Glory to you, O Lord!
I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another. "If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you, 'No slave is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ.
Homily: Without the Spirit, the Gospel is but a Doctrine
The disciples understood that Jesus was leaving them. They were sad and they asked themselves how they could continue to be united after he is gone.
Jesus promised not to leave them alone without protection and guidance. He said that he would pray to the Father, and he would “send the other Paraclete” who will always be with them. Jesus clarifies that the Spirit could be received only by those who are in accord with him, with his plans and his works of love. The world cannot receive it.
What is this world to which the Spirit is not destined? Are they the pagans, those far away who do not belong to the group of disciples, or the members of other religions? The world as Jesus intends is not the persons but those parts in the heart of the person—of each person—wherein darkness, sin, and death reign. That is where worldliness is present with its spirit, contrary to that of Christ’s. Paul reminds the Corinthians of it as they allowed themselves to be guided by human wisdom.
The Spirit is called the Comforter (one who is called to be beside). In ancient times, there was no establishment of lawyers; each defendant had to defend themselves, bringing witnesses to exonerate themselves. It happened sometimes that someone, though not guilty, was unable to prove one’s innocence, or that despite having committed the crime, deserved forgiveness. For them, there remained one last hope: that in the midst of the assembly there would be a person honored by all for their moral integrity. That blameless person, without uttering any word, would get up and go to place oneself at the side of the accused. This gesture is equivalent to an acquittal. No one would have dared to ask for more condemnation. This “defender” is called the “Paraclete,” that is, “one who is called to the side of another who finds oneself in trouble.” The meaning of this title is, therefore, protector, helper, defender.
Jesus promises his disciples another Paraclete since they already have one—he himself as John explains in his first letter, “My little children, I write you these things so that you may not sin; but if anyone does sin, we have a Paraclete by the Father’s side: the righteous Jesus Christ” (1 Jn 2:1).
And Jesus is the Paraclete inasmuch as our Advocate to the Father not because he defends us from his wrath, provoked by our sins (the Father is always on our side, as Jesus). He protects us against our accuser, our opponent—sin. The enemy is sin, and Jesus knows how to refute and reduce it to impotence. John reminds the Christians of his community this truth, so that in the midst of the difficulties of life, spiritual miseries, frailties, and many evil inclinations, they won’t be discouraged, despaired, or lose the serenity of heart.
The duty of Christians is to remain open to the impulse of the Spirit who always reveals new things and increases joy and peace, that help people to pray better and free the heart from useless fears.