Come! O Holy Spirit, Our Advocate And Partner
Readings: (1st: Acts 15, 1-2.22-29; Ps: 66, 2-3; 2nd: Rev 21, 10-14.22-23; Gos: Jn 14, 23-29)
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers, Province of Nigeria South East. He is currently the parochial vicar of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church Woliwo Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria. For more details contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org
One figure that featured in all of today’s Sixth Sunday of Easter readings is the Holy Spirit our Advocate. Jesus is gradually approaching the end of his earthly ministry, so he promises to send us the Holy Spirit the Advocate. A certain man whose daughter was studying abroad sent her some gifts and among the gifts was a bible in which he placed a check to cover her living expenses. Then he wrote a little note to his daughter: My dear, you will find every other thing you need inside this bible. When the girl got the gifts she did not pay attention to the bible or to what the father wrote about it. She waited for months thinking the father was going to send her money for her up keep, but none came. Then, after suffering seriously, she got furious and wrote the father asking him why she was being punished. The father simply repeated: Every other thing you need is inside that bible! Reluctantly, she went looking for the bible. When she found and opened it, behold there was the check bearing huge sum of money and bearing her name. Today Jesus has given us a clue to how we can understand everything he has taught and how we can be strengthened. This clue is the Holy Spirit our advocate and Soul Mate. He will provide every other thing we need! By this promise, Jesus demonstrated to us that it is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that we can grasp the word and things he taught about God.
In the first reading and in fact in the whole of Acts of the Apostles, we find that the Apostles could not carry out any serious mission without the Holy Spirit. Hence, before they took any very important decision, they consulted Him. They did not take decisions as it pleased them as they tell us: “The Holy Spirit and we have decided.” The second reading begins thus: “In the Spirit the angel took me to the top of an enormous mountain…” Of course, it could not have been anything short of this, because, there is no way John could have seen these things without being led by the Holy Spirit. In the gospel, as Christ is about leaving his disciples he starts shifting attention from himself to the Person of the Holy Spirit, the Advocate. This however, is in no way to say that his era is coming to an end. What the awareness of Jesus portends is simply that he is not going to leave us orphans and without help. It does in no way bring the era of Jesus to an end, because he is Lord in every age and at all times. The Holy Spirit is the power of Jesus and yet, a Person in the Trinity. So this Sunday, as Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit will teach us and remind us of all he himself has taught us, all we need do is to be docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. We need to be attentive to him if we must be able to read the signs of our time.
There are so many intrigues, perplexities and dilemmas that we must contend with in our world today as we witness for Christ. Only those who are attuned to the Holy Spirit can understand the reasons for these and where they are leading us to. At no time in the history of the world has the need to listen to the Holy Spirit been more important that at our own time. So this time calls for a special relationship with the Holy Spirit. If we must survive the perils of our time we must make the Holy Spirit our Advocate and our Partner in our life’s journey. It is only when the Holy Spirit of God is upon us that we can sing and dance the way David the man after the heart of God did; that we can preach well as Peter, Paul and the Apostles did because, “no one can say Jesus is Lord except by the power of the Holy Spirit” (I Cor 12, 3); that we can see visions and dream good dreams; and that we can face life’s struggle and succeed in our missionary endeavors. Without partnering with the Holy Spirit we continue to run round in a vicious circle. Hence, if we allow Him to take the lead, we will walk well and live rightly because: “If the spirit of he who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, he will give life to your mortal bodies” (Rom 8, 11); if we allow him to move us, we will move well; if we allow him to teach us, we will learn well; and if we allow him to inspire us, we will achieve our goals and be where Christ is today.
The very important question we must ask ourselves today is: When last did I consult and walk with the Holy Spirit? When we neglect Him, our decision becomes worldly because: “What gives life is the Spirit, the flesh profits nothing” (Jn 6, 63). It is indeed only those who are led by the Holy Spirit that can praise God and say: “Let the people praise you O Lord, Let all the peoples praise you!
Peace be with you!