First reading: Acts 15:1-2, 22-29
Second reading: Rev 21:10-14, 22-23
Gospel: Jn 14:23-29
UNDERSTAND | By Father Greg Friedman, OFM
Shortly before his death, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago launched “Common Ground.” Distressed by the polarization among Catholics, he believed that people of good will, who agreed on basic Catholic doctrine, even while expressing diverse viewpoints within the Church, could come together and seek to listen to one another.
Today’s first reading reminds me of Cardinal Bernardin’s dream of reconciliation. Centuries ago, Jewish and Gentile Christians found themselves disagreeing on how to follow Jesus. Trusting in the Holy Spirit, they prayed, shared their different approaches—and we read the result today.
The Gospel today also reflects something of the early community’s uncertainty about its future. At the Last Supper, the disciples realize Jesus is about to leave them. They’re troubled and afraid, not knowing how they will survive without him. Jesus assures them that he will send “the Advocate, the Holy Spirit,” who will teach them and remind them of all Jesus told them. In effect, Jesus is promising that the Church can always rely on the Spirit to guide it in troubled times.
When we face difficulties and even disagreements within the Church, we mustn’t forget what Jesus promises in today’s Gospel: He sends us his Spirit to be our “Advocate” and teacher. The Spirit will help us discover the peace that Jesus gives—a peace the world does not know.
DISCUSS | By Father Dan Kroger, OFM
In the first reading, what caused discussion and debate about whether the disciples of Jesus could be saved?
In the second reading, why was there no temple in the new Jerusalem?
According to this week’s Gospel, what will the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, do?
ACT | By Susan Hines-Brigger
Have your family talk about ways that you can contribute to the quest for peace. You don’t have to think on a global scale, though it’s great if you do. Perhaps you need to seek peace with family members or amongst friends.