From Seeds of Trust
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 forever. This is the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him because he abides with you, and he will be in you. I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” (John 14:15-20)
Jesus knows the human heart. He knew that his death on the cross would be a scandal for his disciples. That is why, before giving his life, he asked his Father to give them “another Advocate,” in other words, a helper, a support. The first meaning of this word comes from the law courts; it refers to the attorney who stands beside the person accused of a crime.
How is the Holy Spirit a defender, a support, a comforter? If Jesus says he will ask the Father for “another Advocate,” that is because he sees himself as the first support. To understand how the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives, we must therefore look first to see how Jesus supported and comforted his companions. The Holy Spirit is for us what Jesus was for his disciples and for those who met him.
For the evangelist John, the Holy Spirit is also the Spirit of Truth. Since God is beyond our human understanding, we need help to see “the whole truth.” The Holy Spirit will help us to understand first the truth about God, who loves each of us without exception, and then the truth about Jesus, the Son of God, who makes God’s love accessible to us by giving his life on a cross. Then the cross no longer appears as a failure or an absurdity (see 1 Corinthians 1:18-25), but the revelation of the mystery of God’s love.
The Spirit of Truth will also teach us the truth about ourselves. Sometimes the voices that accuse us are not voices from the outside, but those by which we accuse ourselves. We see our weak points, and this leads to doubt and discouragement. The Holy Spirit comes to help us understand that even if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts and knows everything, (1 John 3:20). The Holy Spirit comforts us by attesting that, in spite of our human frailties, we are still children of God (see Romans 8:16). Our deepest identity can only be understood in the light of God’s love.
- Where can I find support, comfort, encouragement?
- To understand the role of the Holy Spirit better we must look at the life of Jesus. What gospel story helps me to understand how God comforts us?
Jesus, our peace, by your Holy Spirit you continue to be for us today what you were for your disciples on Earth. In your gospel you assure us: “I will never leave you alone; I will send the Holy Spirit as a support and a comfort, to remain with you forever.”