This Advocate remains with us even as we navigate the pandemic
by Sister Sally Ann Brickner
Sunday’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles relates how the Apostle Philip visited the city of Samaria and proclaimed Jesus, the Christ, to its inhabitants. They already knew Jesus because He had discoursed with the Samaritan woman at the well outside the city and then spent two days with the townspeople. Jesus also saw them at other times because He customarily journeyed to Jerusalem through Samaria. So Philip’s words and deeds built on personal relationships – his relationship with Jesus and Jesus’ relationship with the Samaritans. Their joy in being baptized in the name of Jesus was magnified when Peter and John journeyed from Jerusalem, laid hands on the believers, and they received the Holy Spirit.
John’s Gospel continues from where it ended last Sunday. In His Farewell Discourse Jesus had told His disciples that He was returning to His Father, and that He and His Father are one. Then Jesus said: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always ...” Jesus Himself is our Advocate with the Father. And in their mutual love the Father and Son generate and gift us with another Advocate whom Jesus promises will always be with us.
With confidence we can look to our Advocate, the Holy Spirit, in our hour of need during this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. If we love one another as Jesus has loved us, we will keep the command to socially distance. It is our way to give life to others, to protect them from harm. Staying “Safer at Home” also gives us more time to become intimate and deeply aware of our dependence on the Holy Spirit who abides within us and remains with us always.
“Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me;
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
Break me, melt me, mold me, fill me.
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.”
(By Daniel Iverson, 1926)