Monthly Archives: May 2011

Christ-with-us–the Advocate, the Paraclete

Wolframs-Eschenbach. Church of our Lady: Altar...

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Another Johannine theme that speaks to me powerfully: the Paraclete/ the Advocate. Several times Jesus speaks of the gift of the Spirit that is to come. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and will remind you of all that I have said to you. (John 14:26)

Here’s what I gathered from all the commentaries: The glorification of Jesus at his death released into the world the Spirit of Truth, the Advocate and Paraclete. The spirit is “Christ-with-us,” appearing as Jesus leaves. He is delivered over as Jesus dies on the cross, breathed upon the disciples at Jesus’ first resurrection appearance to them, sent from above as Jesus returns to his Father’s side. Every step in Jesus’ exaltation is accompanied by a gift to us of his Spirit.

As the Spirit of Truth, he will be the constant guide of disciples, speaking to them and to us (through inspired preachers and writers) what he hears from Jesus, who in turn receives from the Father.

Finally, in my own words, a prayer to the Holy Spirit:

Breath to Breath

Paraclete. Advocate. Champion.

You are the gift of love released with the last breath of Jesus on the cross. You are one with Christ and the Father, a presence within us unbound by time or place.

Holy Spirit, guide us. Holy Spirit, protect us. Holy Spirit, intercede for us.

As once you filled the Upper Room with wind and fire, so too may you fill our souls with wisdom, courage, and the breath of everlasting life. Amen.


Bread of Life

The Gathering of the Manna, by James Tissot

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One of the evangelist’s many themes in this gospel relates to the Eucharist as the Bread of Life. Contemplating this theme pulls me back to the genesis of this blog: the concept of wandering through the wilderness.

God rained down manna in the wilderness to sustain Moses and his people. The Eucharist is our manna, to nourish and sustain us as we wander through our 21st century wilderness. Jesus is our bread from heaven, the bread-wisdom giving life to those who believe in him. Not life on this earth but eternal life with God.

In the Eucharist, we become one with God. He is in us and we are in Him. What we consume is the Spirit-filled flesh and blood of the Son of Man. It sustains us until the raising up of the last day.

Perhaps the greatest Johannine theme: Jesus is the Word of God sent by God. The pre-existent word of God incarnate. Jesus is the way to the Father. Sent by God, Jesus finishes the work God gave him to do and then goes back to God.

The evangelist is also found of dualities: Light and darkness, truth and falsehood, life and death, above and below, sight and blindness.