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You will not be orphans

Jesus continues to reassure his disciples and to prepare them for his imminent departure in the Gospel Reading for the Sixth Sunday of Easter (John 14:15-21). In the previous reading he gave them these comforting words: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me” (or you trust God; trust me also). In the reading for the Sixth Sunday he gives this reassurance: “I will not leave you orphaned”.

There will be another Advocate. The Greek word parakletos is translated Advocate, Comforter, or Counselor. Literally a parakletos is one summoned to another’s aid. Of course Jesus is talking about the Holy Spirit.

He also describes the Holy Spirit as another. With this we are led to understand that the Holy Spirit and Jesus are one and the same. Jesus was present with his disciples during his earthly ministry. After his resurrection and ascension, he is present in the Holy Spirit. That is why he said, “I will not leave you orphaned”.

Jesus is putting to rest those questions as “where are you going?” what happens to us when you are gone?” His answer is “I am gone, in the eyes of the world, but for you, I will ever be around”. Indeed that is what he means when he says, “the world will no longer see me, but you will see me”.

The proof for the disciples came in the post-resurrection appearances when they saw him but the world did not.

So, the Gospel for the Sixth Sunday of Easter reassures Jesus’ followers of his ever-present presence. Writing to Christ followers in Rome, Paul asserted: “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ he (or she) does not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9). One could say therefore that anyone who belongs to Christ has the Spirit and is therefore not orphaned.