RCL Year C Easter 6
Acts 16:9-15, Psalm 67, Revelation 21:10 and 22–22:5, Saint John 14:23-29

The Gospel just proclaimed occupies a special place in Saint John’s chronology. The Gospel occurs in John after the Last Supper and before Jesus’ Passion. In it, Jesus tells his disciples how things will be after his Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension. He is talking to them about the way things will be after his Ascension, and he is talking to us about the way things are now after his Ascension.

He says two very important things. First, we show our love for Jesus by keeping his commandments. This is the positive expression, but he also expresses the same connection negatively. If we do not love Jesus, we will not keep his commandments. One important commandment was the commandment of the Gospel last Sunday and on Maundy Thursday; namely, it is the commandment that we love our neighbor as Jesus loves us.

The second thing he says is that after he returns to the Father, the Father will send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, to teach us everything and to remind us of all that Jesus has told us.

So, here we are. It is after the Ascension of Jesus, though we shall commemorate it again on Thursday of this week; it is after the Day of Pentecost, though we will commemorate it again in two weeks; and we have certain assets, certain resources, to keep us on track and to guide us in keeping our relationship with Jesus intact.

We have Jesus’ commandments; we have the Holy Spirit and all the Spirit teaches and reminds us; and we are surrounded by other believers with the same assets, the same resources. These assets are plenty. They are more than enough to keep us where we want to be.

But they are not enough if we lack the will and the conscience to use them. If we have no interest in Jesus’ commandments, if we have no interest in what the Spirit teaches and reminds us, God will not override our lack of interest, “for force is not of God.”[1] God has given us the freedom either to obey or to disobey. We can drink deeply from the assets and resources that we have, or we can simply turn away from them. In every moment, by God’s gift, we have this choice. It is up to us in every moment to declare to God and to the people in our lives who we shall be.

[1] Hymn 489, Stanza 5.