“The holy Spirit … will teach you everything and remind you of all that [I] told you” (Jn 14:26)

by Shiu Lan
Sixth Sunday of Easter

ACTS 8:5-8, 14-17

1 Peter 3:15-18

John 14:15-21

Recently a group of high school friends who have scattered throughout the world and re-connected in the last few years by social media started a discussion about the pandemic. The discussion became heated, turned ugly, people began to accuse each other for being stubborn, judgmental and for spreading fake information. Then some people, myself included, tried to calm the group with messages of faith and solidarity; that we should entrust the pandemic to God, do our best to be on the lookout for each other, to lend a hand to those who need help and to observe guidelines of staying home, keeping a social distance to protect ourselves and others and so forth. We believe with faith that God will do the rest. This message did not go down too well and they, many of them Catholics, indeed “demand[ed] from [us] an accounting for the hope that is in [us]”; (1 Peter 3:16). To have to explain to a group the reason of my hope is a novel experience and of course I was not quite “ready to make my defense”, all I managed was to do it with “gentleness and reverence” as St. Peter teaches us (1 Peter 3:15).

To account for the hope we have in God, we can find reassurance in this Sunday’s Gospel reading. It is Jesus’ last discourse before his Passion when he said to his disciples: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever” (John 14:14-15). “The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name - he will teach you everything and remind you of all that [I] told you” (Jn 14:26).

Jesus our teacher is thoughtful. He knows our weaknesses and we need help to reinforce our faith on our earthly journey. He has given us the Holy Spirit but are we listening? I still remember the homily I heard during a retreat many years ago. We have two ears, we must not use both to listen to the world, we must reserve one for listening to the Holy Spirit whose voice may become clearer if we pray with a faithful heart.

The Holy Spirit will help us remember Jesus’ words and deeds - the source of our faith and courage to entrust all to God and be able to make our everyday decisions in life according to his teaching. We will be able to live out Jesus’ commandment of love, “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you” (Jn 15:12).

In these difficult times, let us rise to the challenge to become witnesses of the Resurrected Christ, pray with reverence and faith, and to look out for each other in gentleness and love.