Jesus said to his disciples: ‘If anyone loves me he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him and make our home with him. Those who do not love me do not keep my words. And my word is not my own; it is the word of the one who sent me. I have said these things to you while still with you; but the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you. Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you, a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me say: I am going away, and shall return. If you loved me you would have been glad to know that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you this now, before it happens, so that when it does happen you may believe.’
This Sunday’s Gospel serves as a precursor, both to the Ascension as well as the Feast of Pentecost and affirms explicitly the triune nature of God. “If anyone loves me he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him and make our home with him.” No person of the Trinity is an optional extra for us. We cannot claim to love Jesus but not the Father, nor can we call upon the Holy Spirit for strength, guidance and courage and in turn ignore the presence of both the Father and the Son.
The Trinity is the greatest mystery of our faith. Though revealed to us by Jesus, and through Scared Scripture, it is still a difficult belief for all people, irrespective of age or learning. Through this Gospel we are drawn into the mystery of three distinct co-equal and co-eternal persons, namely the Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Before returning to the Father Jesus assures his disciples “I will not leave you orphaned” (14:18) and guarantees them that they will be aided in their missionary work by the Holy Spirit, sent to them by the Father. Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as the Advocate, the one who defends us from evil and sin and who guides us into Truth, by helping us to grasp the meaning of Jesus’ words, actions and miracles. In assuring his disciples, Jesus also assures us “do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid” and we can take great solace in the fact that the Holy Spirit abides in us.
Not only does Jesus promise us the sending of the Advocate – the Holy Spirit – but he bequeaths to us the gift of peace, his peace. We are reminded of this special gift each and every time we go to Mass as the priest invites us to share this peace as a community. This is no ordinary peace, it is a peace “the world cannot give,” it is the peace of Christ. And so we are invited to share this peace, powerful and transcendent, with those around us.