Gospel Jn 14:23-29
‘He will give you another Advocate to be with you for ever’
Jesus’ words here have a certain mysticism about them. “I am in the Father, you are in me…”, “I will always be with you, I am going away.” It all seems a little difficult to get my head around.
There is a temptation to dismiss it all as nonsense – Like Thomas, who is known as the ‘Doubter,’ I want to see the Risen Lord with my own eyes. I want to touch his wounds myself to see that they are real.
Here though, Jesus promises an Advocate. One who will always be with us, who will guide and protect. This is, on face value, not what I want.
This Advocate that Jesus speaks of is not the physical/empirical proof I feel that I need.
While we understand here that Jesus is speaking of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Blessed Trinity, we are in a situation where we do not simply want a guiding spirit, but something irrefutable that will prove to us, according to our own standard, the existence of, and the love of God.
The mystery of God is such that, by necessity, it must exceed our own desires, expectations, and measurements. While on one level I might desperately want to have irrefutable evidence of God’s existence and His love, I also know that such irrefutable (read empirical) evidence would be inadequate.
The presence of the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, is an opportunity for trust, an opportunity for faith. ‘Trust [faith] engenders a knowledge that is mediated, a knowledge that comes through mediation, through a witness’ (Giussani, p. 3).
Faith is a kind of knowledge, mediated through a witness. In this instance our witness is the generations of believers who have preceded us and with whom we are united.
Point to Ponder
“…We must not forget that in our cultural context, very many people, while not claiming to have the gift of faith, are nevertheless sincerely searching for the ultimate meaning and definitive truth of their lives and of the world. This search is an authentic “preamble” to the faith, because it guides people onto the path that leads to the mystery of God. Human reason, in fact, bears within itself a demand for “what is perennially valid and lasting.” – Benedict XVI, 10