May 12, 2020
The words of Jesus that he will give the disciples “another Paraclete,” suggests that Jesus has already acted in this capacity, and now as he prepares for his departure, he is sending another paraclete to be with the disciples until the end of time. In John’s Gospel, the word “paraclete” is taken from the Greek term for an “advocate.” Brendan Byrne, in Life Abounding: A Reading of John’s Gospel, indicates that this would be a person of high standing who would stand beside you when you are in a difficult situation—under accusation, at a loss for what to say, needing some defense that you are unable to muster on your own. Knowing that you have such a person at your side would bring great relief, consolation and comfort (247).
We might think of the many difficulties that we face in life. Some suffering, such as the sickness and death related to the COVID-19 virus come at us, not of our doing. We must endure such difficulties, but we can do so knowing that we are not alone in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Other suffering comes to us because we have chosen a certain path of life, such as, for instance, being a person of service and sacrifice for others. Similarly, in these cases, we know that we walk in justice and truth with the Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen us in the midst of trials and tribulations.
Most importantly, in the midst of all difficulties, is the realization that we are not alone. Jesus has promised that this Paraclete will enable us to be in communion with Jesus, just as Jesus is communion with the Father.