27th April 2008 (6th of Easter)
The Gospel for today introduces us to the Holy Spirit. Next Thursday is Ascension Day, when Jesus would physically leave the disciples. However, he had promised to be with them for ever - and when the Holy Spirit came, that promise was fulfilled. When the Holy Spirit is in us, Christ is in us (see Romans 8:9,10).
The Holy Spirit came in answer to a request from the risen ascended Jesus Christ (Acts 2:33). He is 'another Counsellor' - just like the first one, Jesus. But he is different: he will be with the disciples for ever, and after Pentecost he will live in them. Before then he was with them because Jesus was with them - they knew the Spirit because they knew Jesus, who was full of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus tells his disciples that he will come to them. He will come in the Spirit; but he would also come for a time in his resurrected body, and would appear to them. That is when they would realize that all he had done had been for them, as their representative. Because of Jesus, his disciples have resurrection life, and are intimately connected to the Father. We truly live, because Jesus lives.
But there is a great big 'If'. All this assumes that the disciples love Jesus - and that their love translates into practical obedience. Warm feelings aren't the point. We cannot turn them on or off. But we can choose to obey - and love for Jesus without obedience is not really love at all. Obedience which is merely duty is not much better - love is more than that. Love involves desire - desire for Jesus' presence, desire for his purposes to be fulfilled, desire for him to be honoured, both in our lives and throughout the world.
The promise is that such love receives love, and that the desire for closeness will be fulfilled. This also is something the Holy Spirit does.
1) How can we increase our love for Jesus? Is it worth trying?
2) What do you know of the Holy Spirit's activity in your life?