The Holy Spirit
For Sunday, May 14th, 2023
Jesus said to his disciples: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows him. But you know him, because he remains with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”
Today’s Gospel reading prompts us to ask, “How is it that we can have the strength to keep on being friends with Jesus once he has gone away?” After all, those post-resurrection appearances only lasted for a little less than six weeks—then he ascended into heaven. How do you keep up the friendship with a friend who has gone away?
The odd-but-true answer is that he went away in order to be closer to us. It is the Holy Spirit whose power brings us Jesus’ eucharistic presence and gives us the gifts we need to be the ambassadors of Jesus to the world. It is the Holy Spirit who is the one who convicts us of the truth and also serves as our advocate, giving us the words needed to speak to this needy, hostile world. It is that Spirit who gives us access to the mind of the Father. It is that Spirit who is, said St. Augustine, the bond of charity between the Father and the Son.
Some skeptics like to mock Christians for their belief about a “man in the sky;” they really like to mock the idea that we believe in a “ghost” who speaks to us. As the Lord said, “the world cannot accept” the Spirit because “it neither sees him nor knows him.” But we do know him even if we cannot see him. We understand him particularly when things are toughest. St. Paul writes, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words” (Romans 8:26).
In your prayer today, ask the Holy Spirit to pray in you and form you more fully into the image of the Son of God.
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