Fr Thomas’ Reflection for the 6th Sunday of Easter

You Be Another Paraclete

The thought of life after the corona pandemic is causing a lot of anxiety for many.  The countries and regions which are much more badly affected than Australia are in the shadow of much more fear and anxiety than our local brothers and sisters.  Yet anxiety is a terrible thing that can eat into the sense of security in life.  In a worse case it can even question your sense of identity and purpose of life.  Disciples of Jesus also had terrible anxiety, not because of corona virus, but because their Master and Teacher, Jesus, is gone.
            John’s community of Christians meditated on and prayed over this anxiety of the early disciples.  They also experienced rejection from their fellow Jews.  Their reflection and prayer over the mystery of Jesus’ suffering, death and departure from them gave them consolation which they knew was God’s consolation for them.  This consolation is part of the departure discourse of Jesus forming part of the Gospel of John.  Therefore, the consolation the Johannine community found should help us in our time of crisis and anxiety caused by COVID-19.
            Jesus said that he will not abandon his disciples.  Instead, he will send an advocate to stand by the disciples in their time of need.  The advocate (Paraclete) Jesus is speaking about is God’s love.  It is this Spirit of Jesus that will stand with the disciples to guide them through their crisis.  Looking back in history we know how true it is.  Imbued with the same Spirit of Jesus, the love of God, nothing can trouble our sense of security and hope.  The love of Jesus, the Paraclete (advocate) will strengthen us. The love of Jesus continues to be revealed though the Church.  The Church is the physical presence of Jesus in our time.  Each of you being a disciple of Jesus and doing as he did is revealing the Spirit of God, which in other words is the love of the Father.  Therefore, it is your intimacy with Jesus and your fellow human beings which is the way to manifest the Spirit of Jesus, the love of the Father in heaven.  As a member of the Church, you become another Paraclete.  Therefore, you be the advocate for those who are struggling.