"I Will Not Leave You Orphaned"
Sixth Sunday of Easter, May 17, 2020
The last few months have been shocking for all people all over the world. The advent of the Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has caused unprecedented hardship. No one really knows what is coming next; no one really knows what to do. No one alive today has ever experienced anything like this.
Contrast all of that with our Gospel reading today: “I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth. Then Jesus goes on, “I will not leave you orphans.”
This passage could not have come at a better time. While Jesus was on earth, if there was a disease he healed it. If there was possession, he freed them. If there was darkness he filled it with light. The disciples had him 24 hours a day in the flesh. But Jesus knew that eventually the believers would be numbered in the millions and he could not be physically present with everyone.
So he told his followers: If I do not go away the Holy Spirit cannot come. Jesus then assured them: I will not leave you as orphans.” To those who were beginning to panic at that thought of Jesus leaving He said: “Peace be with you, my peace I give to you…do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to be with us always. Today we must believe that the Spirit is still with us, guiding us because that is our faith.
As we reflect on the events of the past several months we need to keep in mind that the Spirit of God is with us. Where is he? The gospel tells us: “He remains with you and will be in you.”
Our Church clearly teaches that the world we live in is redeemed by Jesus, is guided by the Holy Spirit, and is therefore a good and sacred place and is constantly getting better and better. It is at tragic times like the recent past that we might question that, and I guess that is normal. But I think our Church and especially our scriptures today are challenging us not to fall into the dark world of pessimism. That is the world of Satan. The Devil would like nothing more than for us to believe that the world is horrible and getting worse, because pessimism is the soil in which evil thoughts are planted which eventually grow into evil actions--thoughts like: “who cares anyway”, “it’s of no use”, it doesn’t matter,” it won’t make a difference”.
Pessimism soon becomes depression.
Today we are called to be Christians, believers in Jesus. We are called to be optimists. Listen to the words of Jesus: “I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of Truth. I will not leave you orphaned.
Today we need to celebrate the presence of God in the world. We need to celebrate all the millions of good people on earth. They so far outweigh the bad that it isn’t even funny.
In conclusion, Listen to the words of Jesus again: I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of Truth. I will not leave you orphaned.” Today we need faith, not fear. AMEN.
Fr. Terry Hazel
Acts 8:5–8, 14–17
Unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice, came out of many possessed people.
1 Peter 3:15–18
Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.
[Jesus said,] “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth...You know it, because it remains with you.