NOTE: Since in the last few days we have meditated several times on the Gospel read today in the Novus Ordo (Jn 14:1-12), we will take on this occasion the Gospel according to the traditional calendar.
Now I am going to the one who sent me. Not one of you asks, ‘Where are you going?’ Yet you are sad at heart because I have told you this. Still, I am telling you the truth: it is for your own good that I am going, because unless I go, the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will show the world how wrong it was, about sin, and about who was in the right, and about judgement: about sin: in that they refuse to believe in me; about who was in the right: in that I am going to the Father and you will see me no more; about judgement: in that the prince of this world is already condemned. I still have many things to say to you but they would be too much for you to bear now. However, when the Spirit of truth comes he will lead you to the complete truth, since he will not be speaking of his own accord, but will say only what he has been told; and he will reveal to you the things to come. He will glorify me, since all he reveals to you will be taken from what is mine.
“It is for your own good that I am going”…
This affirmation of Jesus was certainly difficult for the disciples to understand: no longer to have in their midst the loving presence of the Lord, that time of fruitful service to men, the hours of intimacy alone with the Lord, His many teachings, should come to an end… The disciples without the Master: how can it be? Is it not too great the pain to remain without Him? Why cannot they go away with Him? Why did Jesus not immediately take them with Him to the house of the Heavenly Father? What will they have to do without Him? Their hearts are filled with sorrow…
Yet the Lord tells them that it is even better for them if He goes away. How can they understand this?
In due time they will understand, because the Lord tells them the truth. They will experience it when the promised Spirit descends upon them, which He will send them. The Spirit Himself will make them understand these words of the Lord, and, although their Master is no longer physically in their midst, they will not be left without guidance. The Spirit will lead them into the full truth.
At the Last Supper, when Jesus addresses these words to the disciples, they will not yet have understood them, nor what He told them about the Spirit of truth and what He will do. But – as we can assume – they will have believed Him and assimilated His words.
It was not long before the disciples found themselves in a situation not unlike the one we Christians find ourselves in today. We cannot see Jesus physically, but we recognise Him through faith, which the Holy Spirit awakens in our hearts; we recognise Him by the Word He has left us; we recognise Him in the Holy Eucharist and in many other ways that the Holy Spirit grants us.
This Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, is the one whom the disciples needed in their time, just as we need Him today. It is He who remains with us, pointing us in the right way, leading the Church safely through time, as long as she obeys Him and remains faithful to Him.
Just as the Father sends us His Son to make Himself known to us through Him, so the Father and the Son send us the Holy Spirit to complete His work. This is why Jesus tells the disciples that it is good for them that He should go away; that it is right for Him to return to the Father so that He can send them the Paraclete and bring their mission to completion.
Just as the Son does not speak on His own, but utters the words of the Father and fulfils His Will (Jn 12:49), so the Holy Spirit “will not be speaking of his own accord, but will say only what he has been told; and he will reveal to you the things to come.”
The Lord would still have had many things to say to the disciples, but they could not yet bear them. Therefore, it is up to the Holy Spirit to lead them to the full truth. And this Holy Spirit – the Friend of our souls – has also been entrusted with the work of the sanctification of souls.
We Christians living in the present time who have not physically seen Jesus can nevertheless enter into a relationship with our Redeemer that is no less intimate than that of the disciples with their Master. Our divine Friend, who has been sent upon us, reminds us of all that Jesus said and did (Jn 14:26). He is the living and ever-present memory of Jesus’ words and deeds. Moreover, over the centuries, the Holy Spirit has led the Church to a deeper understanding of many things that we can know today, and has instructed her.
Therefore, we can say today that it was indeed good for the Lord to go ahead of us to prepare our dwellings. Yes, it was good for the disciples and their sadness was turned into joy.
Now we await the glorious Return of Our Lord, and it is the Holy Spirit who has been sent to us who prepares us to go forth to meet Him.
NOTE: Since today is the 7th day of the month, which we always dedicate in a special way to our Heavenly Father, we want to invite you to listen to the “3 minutes for Abba”, which is a small impulse that we publish daily in order to deepen the relationship of trust with God the Father. You can find them in the following links: