The Gospel according to John
Jesus said to his disciples: “When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me.
And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning. “I have told you this so that you may not fall away. They will expel you from the synagogues; in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God. They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me. I have told you this so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you.”
Opening Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, fill my heart. Give me the courage to witness for Christ.
Encountering Christ: Unite and Give Testimony: Jesus informs His disciples that “the Spirit of truth” will come and that the Spirit, as well as the disciples, will “testify” to Him. When Jesus first spoke these words to His disciples, they would not have comprehended what He meant. Since these words are visionary in nature, they are words spoken that were to come to fulfillment and then, once fulfilled, the words would be understood. So, what does Jesus mean?
Let’s put this in perspective with some facts about our world.
- Fact #1: There are 1.2 billion Catholics in the world.
- Fact #2: There are over 51 million Catholics in the United States.
- Fact #3: According to PEW Research, 28% of the 51 million are Catholics in the California (approx. 14 million).
- Fact #4: It is estimated that 5 million are in the Los Angeles Archdiocese.
We all know what the term team means but do teams always unite and work in unison? In today’s scripture, Jesus is telling us to unite and testify but do we see us Catholics out there doing so? In my search for these facts, I couldn’t help seeing the statistics for the Mormon or the Jehovah Witness religion. They are only 1% of the population in California (Fact #3) but who do you see out on the streets evangelizing and testifying?
Let’s look at this from another viewpoint. When Deacons are ordained, part of the ceremony, Arch-Bishop Gomez recites these words to each one of us and its face to face.
‘Believe what you read. Teach what you believe. Practice what you teach.’
These are words that engulfs my life in my mission through Christ, with Christ and for Christ. But aren’t these words true for everyone? Isn’t it true that if you read something and believe in it that you will teach it and be an example of it? In essence we are testifying.
After Jesus died, and perhaps even more so after Jesus ascended into Heaven, it is likely that some of His disciples immediately concluded that the new movement Jesus started was now over. They could have never conceived of the idea that what Jesus started was only beginning. They could have never conceived of the fact that soon they would share in the beginning of the Church, proclaim the Gospel with courage and power, see the conversion of countless lives, witness the ongoing forgiveness of sins, and ultimately give their lives in imitation of our Lord. These disciples had no idea just what awaited them with the coming of the Advocate, the Spirit of Truth. What was awaiting them was their sharing in the ability to “testify” to Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. They soon realized that Jesus was actually more alive than ever and that He was now going forth to convert souls by the power of the Holy Spirit and through the instrumentality of all of His new disciples.
The same is true in our lives today. It is far too common for Christians to simply believe in Jesus, personally, but then fail to wholeheartedly give testimony to Him by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. It is far too common for followers of Christ to act more like the disciples prior to the coming of the Holy Spirit. Too often, Christians keep the Gospel to themselves, fearful of giving testimony by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Closing Prayer: Most glorious Jesus, You promised to send upon Your disciples and also upon me the Holy Spirit, the Advocate and Spirit of Truth. Holy Spirit, I welcome You into my life and offer myself to You without reserve to be used to give testimony to the Truth. Please do use me, my God, and touch many lives through me. Jesus, I trust in You.
Action of the Day: Pray that the Holy Spirit gives you the courage to speak upon your belief. Ask God where you are lacking, pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in your life so that God can reach many hearts through you.