Sixth Sunday of Easter | Year A

Posted on May 12, 2023 View all Gospel Reflection

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments,” we hear in our Gospel today, and Jesus adds, as a blessed consequence of living the commandments, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always.”

The Advocate helps us feel an interior drive to walk in conviction to live the Ten Commandments—no sex before a valid marriage between a man and a woman, assisting the poor, living the Third Commandment regarding Sundays, praying daily, etc., which will make you will feel counter cultural at times with your back up against the wall—

e.g.  A minister with a cracked voice and an unprepossessing appearance will not have one-tenth the natural drawing power of a Gypsy Smith with his wonderful voice and attractive personality (especially if Gypsy Smith criticizes or attacks your faith or morals). [Plus,] holiness does not of itself secure a large salary or crowded attendances.1

However, that is why Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to us as another Advocate. It’s a Latin legal term- advocatus- of someone who represents the case of a defendant in the legal trial or hearing.  In Greek, the legal word is paraklëtos and means “called to one’s side for help, and someone who can exhort, urge, encourage, comfort, and cheer up.”

The court of last resort is the Tribunal of God, and this court will affirm the decision of the lower court which is your living of the Gospel but under some persecution as our Second Reading says, “When you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good.”

The Holy Spirit leads the Church toward the Kingdom of heaven progressively through history’s changing events and circumstances– of the Roman Republic, through the lived history of you living in the U.S.A., etc. There the sense of the uncontrollability of what is happening in the world with Russia, China and Iran.

However, the Advocate does not make you a stern gatekeeper trying to jump in and manage others or to note every societal sin. The Advocate is ready to help you if anyone should accuse you for your Catholic Christian beliefs or morality.

Why? Because the Advocate or Paraclete will convict the world of its judgment because the prince of this world has been judged and now stands judged. Both this prince and his domain, the world, stand condemned; and because of this eschatological condemnation, the Paraclete urgently convicts the world and its people of their false judgment.2

Here, in our Gospel today, the Advocate is also referred to as the Spirit of truth. If you are not living the Ten Commandments, however—No Advocate by your side. To illustrate,

“Whoever would have Christianity, hoping for rescue, [but also] make an alliance in the present situation with some such decadent force, whether it be a particular fashion in art, a particular [atheistic] “scientific” way of looking at the world, a particular ethic which works with no need of being Christian, such a one ties [their] Christianity’s dinghy to a doomed ship already going down. Cut the ropes which entangle Christianity with a sinking culture so that it is not torn down in the maelstrom.1

1. Owen Philip Eaches, D.D., Haddonfield, N. J Source: Review & Expositor, January 1, 1927.

2. The Function of the Paraclete in John 16:7-11, D. A. Carson Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 98, No. 4 (Dec., 1979), pp. 547-566 .

3. Der Kampf um das Christentum Geschichte der Beziehungen zwischen dem evangelischen Christentum in Deutschland und dem allgemeinen Denken seit Schieiermacher und Hegel (Mumch C H Beck, 1921), 489