This Sunday's Readings
Acts of the Apostles 15:1-2,22-29
The early Church community determines, with the help of the Holy Spirit, not to impose the requirement of circumcision on Gentile Christians.
A prayer that all the nations sing praise to God.
The vision of the splendor of the heavenly Jerusalem is described.
Jesus promises his disciples that the Father will send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit.
Background on the Gospel Reading
This portion of John's Gospel comes near the end of the first of four chapters that make up Jesus' long farewell discourse at the Last Supper. This section of chapter 14 actually sums up the themes of the opening of the discourse: the Christian's life is not shaped by Jesus' absence but by God's abiding presence; God's presence overcomes anxiety about God's absence; and the present holds in it the seeds of a fresh future shaped by love, not fear.
These verses also contain a glimpse of some of the other themes of the farewell discourse: Jesus' relationship with the Father and the disciples' relationship to Jesus connect the disciples to the Father as well. Jesus promises to send an Advocate or intercessor who will remind the disciples of everything that Jesus taught them and bring them peace.
Jesus is preparing his disciples in advance for his absence so that they will continue to believe in him and not feel all alone after his return to the Father. After the initial excitement of his Easter appearances, Jesus will remain with his followers in a very different way throughout the centuries.
As our celebration of the Easter season is coming to an end, the liturgy reminds us that Jesus remains with us through the Holy Spirit, who teaches us everything we need to know, reminds us of all that Jesus taught, and brings us peace.