By some inventive genius that far surpasses my poor power to comprehend, the email system used here at Creighton incorporates an online calendar which conveniently reminds the user of upcoming appointments throughout the day. This service works to relieve the user of the need to worry about keeping track of multiple commitments throughout the day while relying on this pop-up reminder: “Appointment in 15 minutes!” The smooth running of this operation has one condition: the user must remember to record the appointments in the first place!
The continuing “farewell address” of Jesus in John’s gospel presents various ways in which Jesus assures his disciples of his ongoing presence with them. Today’s passage acquaints us with a uniquely beautiful term for the Holy Spirit, used several times in subsequent chapters: the “Advocate.” The Advocate, “who will be with you always” (v. 16), assures the continuing presence of Jesus as he returns to the Father.
In today’s passage the Holy Spirit as the “Advocate” clearly exercises two roles: that of teaching and reminding. Jesus assures his bewildered followers that this Holy Spirit will help them call to mind his words in an ongoing way. They need not worry about remembering every detail of his teaching as though there would never be another chance to receive it!
Jesus’ consoling message helps stir within us a deep faith in this “indwelling” Spirit who lives in the hearts of all the baptized. Whether personally or corporately this Holy Spirit of truth encourages us to have confidence in the abiding presence of the Risen Jesus, constantly teaching us and reminding us of everything he has taught us. This wonderful reassurance has one condition: that we remember to call on the Holy Spirit for such assistance!
Cardinal Suenens, a prominent voice at the Second Vatican Council, once said that, “The first duty of the Church is always to live Pentecost.” The Holy Spirit stands ready to teach and remind, to renew and refresh us individually and as the whole Body of Christ. Let’s keep our daily “appointment” with the Holy Spirit who promises to help the Risen Jesus move powerfully in us today and every day!
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