Gospel reading for Easter 6 and a Reflection

John 14:15-21


The Promise of the Holy Spirit


[Jesus 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 for ever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.

‘I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.’



Norman Johnson, Benefice Reader

I wonder what your answer would be if asked the question: ‘What is the most important thing that the majority, if not all, human beings need to experience in their lifetime?’ Would it be good health or would it be worldly success or even financial security? Whilst these might justifiably be thought of as important, my contention is that the most necessary thing is love and connection in the form of relationship. It is a basic human need to love and be loved, to be in communion with others.

The reading today focuses on both relationship and love. Jesus starts by saying “if you love me, you will keep my commandments” referring to his great commandments to the disciples and through them to us. He then brings together the relationship of the Holy Trinity. Assuring the disciples that they will not be left alone when he returns to the Father, the words “I will not leave you orphaned” are an integral part of his message. Like the disciples we are not left alone.

When we as Christians ponder on what this life is about the question we should be asking is not ‘who am I?’ or ‘where did I come from when I was born?’ or indeed ‘where will I go when I die?’ In truth we surely know the answer to the last of those three. As Christians we believe in the saving grace of Jesus and because of him we will go into the presence of God. The question to ask is, ‘who am I in relation to God and in relation to my neighbour?’ Neighbour does not just mean the folks next door, or those in our community, but every other human being we come into contact with or even those we don’t.

In these strange times, so many are showing such love and care. There are also many reaching out for companionship through online meetings. Some are searching for something spiritual. I heard on the radio that before this crisis 6 percent of the population attended Church, but since this began 25 percent have tuned to some form of spiritual content online or the media and 48 percent have prayed.

These may be hard times for us all and especially those who live alone. We all need a hug from time to time but we all need to reach out to love in whatever way we can. We may be apart but as the title of a song written by singer/songwriter Neil Sedaka in the1970s, it’s “Love will keep us together”.

As Jesus tells us at the end of today’s reading, if we turn to God and truly love God, he will not let us be alone, the Spirit will guard us and guide us and keep us strong.

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