At the Last Supper Jesus told his apostles he would be leaving them to return to the Father. In today’s Gospel, he reassures them and us that we will not be alone. The Holy Spirit was sent to the disciples and is with each of us as a special helper and friend until Jesus returns to us. In the meantime, we continue to show our love for Jesus by following his commandments.
When children are orphaned, they often hold on to something to remind them of whose they are. Orphan Annie had a half of a locket, Oliver Twist had a letter, and some victims of the holocaust had smuggled photographs. Even without the physical presence of their parents, orphaned children very much felt connected to their parents. This is the image Jesus gives us in the Gospel as well. He explains that it is the Holy Spirit that is with us and helps us know we are God’s. It is this Spirit that guides us to live the way God wants us to. The Spirit comes to us in a special way at our baptism and guides us, even to our surprise sometimes, and helps us follow the commandments of God.
On our own it is impossible either to know God or love God. This is why the gospel is so reassuring when Jesus promises us the Spirit who remains with us and will be in us. If we wish to grow in our love for God, we must first become attentive to the Spirit who dwells within us. We come to see the spirit within us by taking sufficient time to be aware of the Beloved so near us. The Life within us is the love we are to make visible.