Eucharistic Readings for the Day of Pentecost: Year C
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever.” (John 14:16)
These words from The Gospel of John were recited and remembered well before the writings of the Acts of the Apostles, in our Acts reading for today. But even in John’s Gospel, Jesus tells of a coming time when God will send the Holy Spirit to be with, and lead our assembled Church.
What does “another” advocate mean? Our Lord Jesus was an advocate for us, not so much for human authorities, but for believers, as the real intercessor of our faithful presence before God.
Perhaps the greatest harm that Covid did to us was to stop us from coming together. Many of us have now gone to live streaming worship or other Church telecommunications as a way of worship. I fear something is missing with “e-worship.” Our parish has gone to ending our Old and New Testament readings with the words, “Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people:” rather than “The Word of the Lord.” The Holy Spirit of God can speak two different meanings to two different people sitting side by side using the same words. It is far more important to feel the guidance of the Holy Spirit than to be fixated on the literal words that were read. But we must be together for this to happen. We have become so accustomed to not coming to Church that some find it difficult to come back now that Covid is declining. We need to turn this around.
In Acts we have New Testament people recalling Old Testament prophecy. What we have this time in our Acts reading is a repeat of the Prophet Joel, Chapter 2, verse 28 to 32. Whether it’s Acts or Joel, the point is that God will pour out the Spirit of God on all “gathered” community who accept it and call on God so that they will be saved. Saved in this sense is different from cured. This “saved” refers to life after death, eternal life.
The Acts message is so inclusive that it is spoken by people who did not know the language of the Gentiles to whom the message went to but was heard clearly by those Gentiles who never knew Jesus. It makes no difference. If they too call on Jesus, they will be saved. If we call on Jesus we will be saved, forever.
As we receive the Holy Spirit let us not forget Ukraine in our prayers. This same Spirit of God who speaks the universal language of love and togetherness is completely understood by the people of Ukraine. They are not cut off by Covid but rather they are trying to be cut off by tyranny. We must not let that happen. We will continue to pray in the Spirit, in the Advocate that God has sent to be with us forever. We are all one in the Spirit.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John