When the feast of the Ascension is kept on the 7th Sunday of Easter, as it is in England and Wales, the Second Reading and Gospel of that Sunday may be used as an alternative to the readings provided for the 6th Sunday.
However, for the purposes of this blog, we stick with the regular readings the Lectionary provides for the sixth Sunday of Easter.
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘If you love me you will keep my commandments.
I shall ask the Father,
and he will give you another Advocate to be with you for ever,
that Spirit of truth whom the world can never receive
since it neither sees nor knows him;
but you know him, because he is with you, he is in you.
I will not leave you orphans; I will come back to you.
In a short time the world will no longer see me;
but you will see me, because I live and you will live.
On that day you will understand that I am in my Father
and you in me and I in you.
Anybody who receives my commandments and keeps them
will be one who loves me;
and anybody who loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I shall love him and show myself to him.’John 14:15-21
The Gospel has us remember the gift of the Holy Spirit, given to sustain us in the truth and in the communion of the Church with Christ.
The Holy Spirit is sometimes spoken of as “the ‘and”‘ which unites the Father and the Son: never the Father without the Son, never the Son without the Father, thus the ‘and’.
In Christ we are never alone either. In his love we are sustained by the ‘and’ of the Holy Spirit – never is the here and now allowed to be the final word; not our successes nor our failures. The ‘now’ is always bound to the ‘next’, nourished by the saving Mystery of Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection – his outpouring of himself in love for us and for the Father, extended and applied to us still more particularly by the gift of the Spirit.
Paleo-Christian engraving, San Georgio in Velabro, Rome. (c) 2016, Allen Morris