As in last week’s gospel, we read this Sunday from the words of Jesus at the Last Supper in the Gospel of John, the so-called ‘farewell discourse’. The theme of ‘love’ emerges again, not the love of one disciple for another, but the disciple’s love for Jesus. Love for Jesus brings down the love of the Father. This love is shown by ‘keeping the word’ of Jesus, and keeping the word of Jesus is keeping the word of the Father who sent him. Jesus draws us into intimacy with the Father. What was stated in the very first chapter of the gospel is explained, that the only-begotten Son has made the unseen God known (1:18).
Fidelity to the word of Christ is not easy. Aware that the disciples will need assistance to recall and practise his word, Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit ‘will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said’. To live as Christians requires this remembering of all that Jesus said and did, but also openness to the new insights provided by the Spirit, who is constantly active in the Church. The Spirit is given the name ‘Advocate’, in Greek parakletos, which means one who is ‘called alongside’, one who is called to assist. John alone uses this term for the action of the Spirit.
The final verses speak of ‘peace’, the peace that the world cannot give. The departure of Jesus to the Father ‘who is greater than I’ should not undermine the peace of the disciples, for they already know the Father’s closeness through Jesus.
What does it mean to keep the word of Christ?
How do we know the closeness of the Father?
We pray for those who preach Christ’s word.
We pray that we may be receptive to the work of the Spirit, called to assist us by Jesus.