Gospel and Reflection, Sunday 22 May 2022
Gospel: John 14: 23-29
'A peace the world cannot give is my gift to you'
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘If anyone loves me he will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we shall come to him and make our home with him.
Those who do not love me do not keep my words.
And my word is not my own:
it is the word of the one who sent me.
I have said these things to you while still with you;
but the Advocate, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in my name,
will teach you everything
and remind you of all I have said to you.
Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you,
a peace the world cannot give,
this is my gift to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me say: I am going away, and shall return.
If you loved me you would have been glad to know that I am going to the Father,
for the Father is greater than I.
I have told you this now before it happens,
so that when it does happen you may believe.’
In today’s Gospel Jesus continues to speak reassuring words about love. He knows the unspoken questions in the hearts of his disciples - not only those around the Last supper table, but all those of future generations. How will we be able to do what we heard Jesus tell us last Sunday: love one another as he has loved us. “Whoever loves me will keep my word,” says Jesus, and this word is what he has received from the Father who sent him. Jesus is in our hearts, to be loved freely, without compulsion.
Jesus’s life has been all about the God who sent him, not about himself, and in this sense he can say, “The Father is greater than I.” Jesus is leaving his disciples because of his obedient love of the Father that will take him through death into the glory of the resurrection that the Father will bestow upon him. Jesus and his Father will share this glory and love with his disciples through the Holy Spirit. These Last Supper words, therefore, are not about absence but about presence: the abiding presence of the Father and the Son with the community of disciples in the power of the Spirit. If the disciples’ love is generous, not possessive, they will rejoice in the departure of Jesus for this is the accomplishment of his life’s work.
I pray You will bring peace today to those who are struggling. Please bring hope to those who feel helpless. Bring comfort to those suffering with illness. May we all look to You for strength each day.