Jesus said to his disciples: "Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.
Shortly before his death Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago launched “Common Ground.” Distressed by the polarization among Catholics, he believed that people of good will who agreed on basic Catholic doctrine, even while expressing diverse viewpoints within the Church, could come together and seek to listen to one another.
Today’s first reading reminds me of Cardinal Bernardin’s dream of reconciliation. Centuries ago, Jewish and Gentile Christians found themselves disagreeing on how to follow Jesus. Trusting in the Holy Spirit they prayed and shared their different approaches—and we read the result today.
The Gospel today also reflects something of the early community’s uncertainty about its future. At the Last Supper, the disciples realize Jesus is about to leave them. They’re troubled and afraid, not knowing how they will survive without him. Jesus assures them that he will send “the Advocate, the Holy Spirit,” who will teach them and remind them of all Jesus told them. In effect, Jesus is promising that the Church can always rely on the Spirit to guide it in troubled times.
When we face difficulties and even disagreements within the Church, we mustn’t forget what Jesus promises in today’s Gospel: He sends us his Spirit to be our “Advocate” and teacher. The Spirit will help us discover the peace that Jesus gives—a peace the world does not know.
In this week's first reading, there is a discussion among those who believed in Jesus about whether Gentile converts must follow the whole Jewish Law. What was the decision of the community of believers in Antioch?
What message did the Apostles and elders in Jerusalem send to the community of believers in Antioch? Were the Gentile converts who believed in Jesus obliged to follow the whole Jewish Law or just parts of it?
The second reading tells of John having a vision of the holy city of Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. What was around it? Whose names were written on the gates to the new Jerusalem?
Was there a temple in this new Jerusalem? Who takes the place of the temple in this new city?
In the Gospel, Jesus promises that, “Whoever loves me will keep my word.” What does it mean to keep his word? Do you keep his word?
Jesus promises that the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in his name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.
by Susan Hines-Brigger
Draw a peace sign on a piece of paper and surround it with all the ways that you can help to foster peace in various places, such as your family, neighborhood, or school. You can even think bigger and come up with ways to be an advocate for peace in the world.
In the Gospel, Jesus tells the disciples that the Holy Spirit will teach them. Who in your life has served as a teacher or guide? Write a note to that person, whether it be a parent, grandparent, relative, or teacher, and let him or her know how they have helped to guide you.