My Dear People,
First, I would like to thank all who participated in the synodality meeting last Monday Evening.
Today we read from the Gospel of John, where Jesus who gives an especially important message before going to the Father.
Jesus begins with “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.” John 14:23
Jesus always emphasizes keeping his word during his ministry. One other time Jesus used this phrase was “My mother and brother and sisters are those who hear the word of God and keep it.”
We see the convergence of love and obedience. God’s commandments are given for our good, to show us the path to love. Our obedience shows that we both love and trust him.
The Father and son promise to “make our dwelling” with the one who “keeps my word.” This is the Temple theme, picking up the motifs of the Second reading. The one who keeps the word of Jesus becomes the “New Jerusalem,” the dwelling place of the “Lord God almighty and the Lamb.”
When Jesus promises an Advocate, that is the Holy Spirit, and Jesus adds, “whom the Father will send in my name,” why is the Father sending the Holy Spirit? Jesus adds “He will teach you everything and remind you of all that I have told you.”
This is to remind the apostles that the Holy Spirit will guide them and will give them a better understanding of the faith.
The Church has had throughout history Ecumenical Councils, where the Pope and Bishop are gathered to discuss doctrinal and pastoral issues. Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit these councils have defined the doctrine of the faith and made specific declarations. For example, in Nicaea the Council declared that Jesus is God, and they put in the creed the word “consubstantial” (of the same substance as) the Father. In Ephesus, the council declared that Mary is the Mother of God. Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the council had to convene and make these declarations otherwise the church would have been divided by the heresies that were floating around.
In John 14:27, Jesus says: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world does.” It states that God will provide a supernatural peace that cannot be explained or justified on rational or observational grounds. Even though there are persecutions and tribulations in the world, God will give us His peace. This peace is not like the natural peace of this world. This will be a different kind of peace, a lasting peace.
Jesus concludes with the words “Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” And Jesus makes them aware that He is going to the Father and that should be something that they would rejoice in. With these words, Jesus cares for the Apostles and provides pastoral comfort, so that they remain courageous and confident in their duties even in the apparent absence of Jesus himself. These words are meant also for us so that we are not troubled.
The tribulations that the apostles experienced were predicted by Jesus, because they are not of the world and because they will be persecuted. They were all martyred for the faith, except John. However, Jesus gives them comfort and encourages them, so that they maintain faith during the time of testing.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Vincent Clemente