Greetings and thank you for letting me share this time with you. This is the 6th Sunday of Easter. We read in the Gospel that Jesus promises his disciples not to leave them orphans. That he will continue to be with them through “another Advocate.” But please listen to what the Gospel for today reads on verses 15 through 17.
The Holy Gospel according to St. John the 14th chapter
Glory to you, oh Lord!
“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.”
The Gospel of our Lord
Praise to you, oh Christ!
Grace and peace are yours from God our Father, and from his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
During this pandemic of Covid-19, we have seen on the internet and on television many acts of kindness of people helping others, or trying their best to show love and mercy, and we say that there is a “spirit of kindness” amidst this tragedy.
When we have been hit by hurricanes here in Florida, we have seen people going far from their comfort zones just to help strangers and meeting neighbors in a new way. We say that there is a “spirit of cooperation” or “community spirit” that inspires hope.
When we were able to attend sports games and we rooted for our team, we have encouraged them with our loud noises and cheers. We have called on our “Team Spirit” to bring them into victory.
And we well know of the warm feelings that the Spirit of Christmas brings to the hearts of many.
These are all “human-based” spirits. They are good, but nevertheless fragile and changing.
In our Gospel reading, Jesus was preparing his disciples for a time of confusion and possible despair. He was going into a serious “social distancing” from them after Calvary.
At least in these days we have on-line communication. We can digitally see our loved ones and friends through virtual face chats. We can still be inspired, motivated, challenged and nurtured by our faith leaders. But none of that was available for Jesus’ disciples nor any way of communication still is there between the afterlife and this one.
So, Jesus went beyond any comprehension and promised that there was going to be a powerful way of communicating with him given to all who love him and keep his commandments. He called it “another Advocate,” the “Spirit of Truth,” in which Jesus himself was “coming to them.” That just blows my mind, and only get it because I have experienced it myself, otherwise I would have a hard time believing it.
In these times of confinement, it is natural that many can feel alone, but according to Jesus, never “orphans.” May we use this time to increase our relationship with Christ through meditating in God’s Word daily, centering ourselves in prayer. I can see why that “Spirit” stirred in us the use of those spiritual “Vitality” tools made available throughout our Synod.
May Jesus continue to come to us via his Spirit so we may enjoy his presence today and always. Amen.
Let us pray,
Loving and merciful Christ, what can we say, but thank you for giving us your Spirit. Thank you for your comforting and challenging presence which inspires us to follow your loving commandments. Strengthen our faith and guide us to practice your work through our efforts. We pray for those in need during this difficult time. Protect us and help us to be wise as we make serious decisions. We pray all these things in your name, dear Lord Jesus because you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, One God now and forever. Amen.
Until next time stay with God’s blessing,
The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord’s face shine on you with grace and mercy.
The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace! Amen.
+ Bp. Pedro
Rev. Pedro Suarez, Bishop
Florida-Bahamas Synod, ELCA