6th Sunday in Easter Time Year-A ~ May 14, 2023
HOLY SPIRIT: THE ADVOCATE
Our Lord is closing his earthly journey now as next week will be celebrating the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord into Heaven. His 33 years on earth have changed the history of the world. He shook the old traditions which were binding people under heavy burdens of the rites and rituals. He started his public life with “repent and believe in the Gospel for the Kingdom of heaven is near” and will be closing with “I am with you till the end of the age”. These 40 days of Easter and 10 days after the Ascension, are perfect way to understand that we are Easter People and Alleluia is our song in spite of all suffering and persecutions. Before I share my reflection with you all, I would like to give you a brief recap of the previous Sundays Gospel Readings.
2nd Sunday of Easter: We celebrated the Feast of the Divine Mercy with the help of St. Sr. Faustina whom the Lord gave the image with white and blue rays coming out of his merciful heart. Jesus loves and goes after the one lost sheep because he has compassion. Prophet Isaiah says “He has carried our infirmities and iniquities unto him” because he “cares about us” as St. Peter concludes the great mystery of his love and mercy on the Cross.
On the 3rd Sunday of Easter, we walked with the two disciples on their way to Emmaus from Jerusalem with brokenness and sadness. However, Jesus joins them and becomes part of their brokenness, hurtfulness, and hopelessness. He opens their hearts and minds to understand the mystery of his coming into the world and then offering himself for the salvation of the whole universe. He walks with us as well as we go through pain and suffering because he is Emmanuel and has set his tent among to wipe every tear from our eyes so that everything is made new.
The 4th Sunday of Easter was an open invitation from the Lord to understand our following of him, being his sheep and he is our Good Shepherd. Jesus calls himself Good Shepherd who knows his sheep and his sheep know him. Jesus being the gate of the sheepfold helps us to enter through him to gain eternal life and be with the Father.
The 5th Sunday of Easter was part of the farewell discourse of the Lord as he was sitting with his disciples and talking with them about the things or events which were about to take place. The Gospel Reading began with these words “Do not let your hearts be troubled, believe in God and believe also in me”. He is not encouraging his disciples but he is strengthening them to understand the mystery of his death and resurrection. However two disciples are finding it hard to understand what is he saying; St. Thomas and St. Philip. One says we do not know where you are going and how we can know the way and the other says “show us the Father, and we will be satisfied”. Here comes the Lord that is encouraging for all of us “I am the way, the truth, and the life” and if we have seen him, we have seen the Father” which has a twofold meaning: First Jesus himself the ultimate divine person who is undivided and cannot be testified by the humans and secondly he brings all of us to be with the Father through him. This relationship with Jesus and the relationship with God the Father are the sources of trust and faith in his love and mercy.
Today in the Gospel Jesus knows the sadness and fear of his disciples after his Ascension into Heaven, he is promising them the gift of the Holy Spirit by using the image or symbol of Advocate. What does it mean for us? Why is Jesus is using the image of an Advocate but not of any other profession? I believe the qualities of a true and genuine Advocate or Lawyer may have led Jesus to use the image of an Advocate. Do you recall the story of young lawyer coming to Jesus asking, “what should he do to inherit the eternal life?” Let me share some qualities of the true and genuine Advocate/Lawyer to understand the image.
A great advocate has the potential to have a dramatic and positive impact on the life of a client. Whether it’s by helping them through a difficult family law matter, protecting them against false charges, or securing fair financial compensation after an accident. He helps people during some of the most challenging times in their life. But what makes a good lawyer? It’s not an easy job, and not everyone is cut out for it.
Passion for the Job
As a starting point, successful lawyers almost always have a true passion for their job. One of the keys to talent development is cultivating worker passion. In other words, people who are passionate about what they are doing are happier, more fulfilled, and they perform better. I believe the Holy Spirit knows what he is being sent to do by the Father. He helps everyone to understand that Jesus is our Savior and Son of God.
Compassion for Clients
Without compassion for their clients, a lawyer will never reach their true professional potential. The top legal minds in the field almost invariably highlight compassion and service when they offer advice to law students and aspiring lawyers. A lawyer who is committed to representing and helping their clients is likely to find meaning and success in their professional life. The Holy Spirit being the Advocate and Helper helps us every day to find what is right and true.
Great Communication Skills
On a fundamental level, advocates are communicators. They communicate with their clients, they communicate with other parties to the case, and they communicate with the court. Beyond that, lawyers communicate in a wide range of different ways. A great lawyer knows how to get important ideas across in formal legal writing, in informal emails, in phone conversations, through discussions in official legal settings, and in private conversations. St. Paul says the Holy Spirit prays for us and helps us to call God Abba, Father.
Willingness to Listen
One of the most underrated traits shared by almost every successful advocate is a strong ability and willingness to listen. Although strong listening is a part of overall communication skills, it’s important to highlight listening as its own professional trait. Effective communication is a two-way street. When you truly open your ears, you will probably recognize that people are giving you even more information than you thought. Listening to your clients, listening to witnesses, listening to your opposing counsel, and listening to the court can be the difference between winning and losing a case. Great lawyers take in all relevant information, analyze it, and create a plan of action. Holy Spirit being an Advocate of God the Father and God the Son listens very carefully and helps us to listen to the voice of God and his Only Begotten Son.
Knowledge of the Law.
Successful lawyers share many common traits, they may rely on a distinct body of law. The legal knowledge needed to be effective. Great lawyers know their area of practice. Some of this knowledge comes from experience. Some of it comes from education. The Lord says, “He will teach you what he learned” and I guess that is true with the Holy Spirit because he has the knowledge of the divine and teaches only what is right and true to believers and the 1st Reading can testify to it.
At times, lawyers are required to make judgements — both for themselves and for their clients. For instance, a lawyer may have to decide whether a legal claim is worth pursuing at all. Alternatively, an attorney may be involved deep in settlement negotiations and their client may ask them for their opinion on a proposed deal. The Holy Spirit judges on the grounds of truth because he helps us to understand our mutual relationship with the Lord and his people.
There are many other qualities we can think of in advocates or lawyers. Jesus by promising his disciples that he is going to give them an Advocate, the Holy Spirit, he is confirming with them that they must understand that they are not going to be left alone after he is ascended back to his Father. The Holy Spirit helps us to survive in difficult times and also when we struggle to find the meaning and purpose of our life.
Let me share a story with you to understand why the Holy Spirit is important in our lives.
Once upon a time Supreme god and god went for a short stroll around the city. They saw a poor looking priest begging. The god felt pity at him, and he gave him a bag full of 100 gold coins. The priest became very happy and thanked him. He left for his home. On the way, he saw another person who needed help. The priest could have spared a coin or two to help that person. However, he chose to ignore it. But on the way to his home, one thief robbed him of his bag of coins and ran away.
The priest became dejected and went back again for begging. Next day again when god saw the same priest begging and he was surprised that after getting a bag full of coins which can last a lifetime, the priest was still begging! He called the priest and asked him the reason for this. The priest told him about the whole incident and god again felt pity at him. So, this time he gave him a diamond.
The priest became very happy and left for home and he again saw someone who needed help, but he chose to ignore again. Upon reaching home, he safely put the diamond in an empty pot of water with a plan to cash it out later and live a wealthy life. His wife was not at home. He was very tired, so he decided to take a nap. His wife came home and picked up that empty pot of water, walked towards the river to fill up the water. She had not noticed the diamond in the pot. Upon arriving at the river, she put the whole pot into the running river water to fill it up. She filled up the pot, but the diamond was gone with the water flow!
When the priest woke up, he went to see the pot and asked his wife about the diamond. She told him she had not noticed it and it must have been lost in the river. The priest couldn’t believe his bad luck and again started begging. Again, god and Supreme god saw him begging and god inquired about it. The god felt bad and started thinking if this priest will ever have a happy life.
Supreme who is an incarnation, smiled and gave that priest one coin which was not even enough for buying a lunch or dinner for one person. The god asked Supreme, “Lord, I gave him gold coins and a large diamond, which could have given him a wealthy life, yet it didn’t help him. How will just one coin help this poor guy?” Supreme God smiled and told god to follow that priest and find out.
On the way, the priest was thinking about that one-coin Supreme god gave him, you can’t even buy a lunch for one person. Why would he give so little? He saw a fisherman who was getting a fish out of his net. The fish was struggling. The priest took pity on the fish. He thought that this one coin wouldn’t solve my problem, why not save that fish. So, the priest paid the fisherman and took the fish. He put the fish in his small pot of water which he always carried with him.
The fish was struggling in the small pot of water, and it ended up throwing up a diamond from its mouth! The priest screamed with a joy, “I got it, I got it”. At that same point, the thief who had robbed the priest’s bag of 100 gold coins, was passing through there. He thought that the priest recognized him and may get him punished. He got nervous and ran to the priest. He apologized to the priest and returned his bag full of 100 gold coins. The priest couldn’t believe what just happened.
The god saw all this and said, “Oh Lord, Now I understand your way”.
Do we allow Holy Spirit to help us understand who Jesus is for us?
Other Sermons In This Series
April 14, 2022
June 23, 2023
September 16, 2022