Gospel Reflections (John 14:23-29)

In these final discourses of Jesus at the Last Supper (as he sketches the outlines of his future Church) there are four passages which promise the coming of a Paraclete or Advocate, the Holy Spirit. ‘Paraclete’ and ‘Advocate’ mean the same: someone who is called to your side as a supporter, often in a legal situation. The Father will send this Paraclete, in the name and power of Jesus, so that the Paraclete will make Christ present in the Church in a new way. The Paraclete will strengthen Jesus’ disciples with Christ’s own strength. The Paraclete will lead the disciples into all truth, so that they gradually come to a fuller understanding of all the implications of the teaching of Jesus. Like any legal advocate, the Paraclete will provide the followers of Jesus with the power in teaching and argument to withstand opposition. This is the power which will guide the Church in ages to come, not only the official teachers of the Church, the successors of the apostles, but all the faithful who preserve and enrich the tradition of the Church by their prophetic office. The decree of Vatican II on the Church leaves no doubt that not only the call to sanctity but also participation in the prophetic office of Christ extends to all the members of the Church; this is an inspiring and awesome responsibility for us all. For what special task do I most need the Paraclete’s strength and guidance?

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