Franciscan Friar Fr. Paul Gallagher reflects on the Gospel for the Sixth Sunday of Easter. Jesus talks about the world as being incapable of accepting or recognizing the presence of the Holy Spirit. How do you understand what Jesus is saying about the world?
The content is edited by Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Anne Marie Lom and Joe Thiel. The excerpts from the Sunday readings are prepared by Joe Thiel. To read or download the complete pdf with excerpts for your prayer, please click here Franciscan Gospel Reflection May 14 2023. Excerpts are from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner. Photo: Here’s a parish that has meaningful representations of the Trinity. You’ll want to see them in the context of the church for a greater appreciation. Holy Trinity, Kewaskum, Wisconsin
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, which 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.”
This Gospel passage follows after the Gospel text read last week. It, too, comes from the last discourse of Jesus at the Last Supper. This short text contains many important themes worthy of reflection. The connection between love and keeping God’s commandments is presented in both the first and last verse of the text. Obedience is not love. The eldest brother of the prodigal son was obedient. When one loves, they strive to do what pleases the one they love.
The text also speaks of God’s presence to those who love. Throughout the text, John presents some insights into the relationship of God as Trinity. The intimate relationship of the Father and Jesus is expressed. At the same time there is a sense in the text that the Father and Jesus are distinct from one another. The text also includes a reference to the Spirit. While this suggests a relationship between the Father, Jesus, and the Spirit, it is not yet clearly defined. They are connected in how they are present in the world, but they are also distinct one from the other.
As was stated last week, it seems to be unclear whether Jesus is preparing the disciples for his departure in death or for his departure from earth in the Ascension. Jesus’ departure will leave the disciples with a sense of loss. He reassures them that he will not leave them orphaned. They will find His presence not by looking outside of themselves, but within.
Lastly, it may be helpful to be aware that John’s Gospel reflects a culture where society was viewed as being separated into two groups: one’s extended family and everyone else. Those outside of the family were presumed to be a possible threat. Hence, the text casts the world as distinctly different and separate from the favored loved members of the community.
- Where do you experience your most loving relationships? Where do you experience your most loyal relationships? Are they the same?
- How do you experience the obedience and loyalty within yourself?
- Do you know people who seem to live in the Spirit of truth?
- Have you ever felt abandoned? Does that affect your relationship with others? Does it affect your relationship with God?
- Jesus says that he is in the Father, and He and the Father are in you as a disciple. How do you experience this? Do you have a desire to experience this more deeply?
- Jesus also talks about the world as being incapable of accepting or recognizing the presence of the Holy Spirit. How do you understand what Jesus is saying about the world?
- Last Sunday, Philip asked Jesus to show him the Father and that will be enough. Where does this text suggest that Philip should look for the presence of the Father?
- As you hear the text today, what do you hear God saying to you? What do you want to say to God in response?