The Gospel according to John (16:5-11)
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Now I am going to the one who sent me,
and not one of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’
But because I told you this, grief has filled your hearts.
But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go.
For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you.
But if I go, I will send him to you.
And when he comes he will convict the world
in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation:
sin, because they do not believe in me;
righteousness, because I am going to the Father
and you will no longer see me;
condemnation, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.”
Today’s Gospel comes from John’s recounting of Jesus’ conversation with His Apostles on the night of the Last Supper. By the time we come to the verses we hear today, Jesus has been talking with them for some time, and it’s clear that they don’t understand what He is telling them. They are viewing the coming separation from Jesus in human terms, even though Jesus is trying to get them to see the events from a higher, heavenly perspective.
As I was pondering this passage, a pale, human example from my own life occurred to me. I had been working as a computing consultant at the University of California, Riverside, for more than eight years, when my boss told me that he was leaving UCR and moving out of the area. We had worked very well together and for whatever my thoughts were about things he did not do well, he was a remarkable leader, and a person who was just “good”. I wondered how my job there at UCR would change, and it definitely did cause me worry, because I had gotten so comfortable with my boss.
I think it was like that for Jesus’ Apostles, too. They didn’t understand fully His message, and counted on Him being there to continue to teach them, but Jesus Himself knew that His time was running out. The good news is that, even though He would not be with them physically, He was sending them the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, to guide them. They just had to adjust to that view, and doing so was critical, since most who would come to know Jesus through “the Way” would have never actually seen Him. Jesus’ first evangelists had to come to possess that faith so that they could share it with those who would need to stand on that faith.
Thanks be to God that He did give the Holy Spirit, and thanks to Him now that the same Holy Spirit enlivens each one of us, that we may trust, even though we don’t understand, and that we may share the Good News, knowing that the one in whom we believe will draw us to Him in heaven with all the saints one day.
Action for the Day:
Take a moment today and think about what causes your faith to be shaky, and ask our loving Lord to show you how to strengthen that faith, and to trust in Him better each day.
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