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John 14:15-16, 23-26

When we love Jesus, we submit to his commandments. It is, Chrysostom reminds us, easy to say these things, but we need to act upon his words – hence Jesus says that if we really love him will will follow him, and we will love one another, and do to each other as he does to us. Our obedience is an expression of love, and paints a portrait of love in our lives which displays the beauty of what God has created (St Cyril of Alexandria). There is no love without the Holy Spirit, so the disciples already had the Spirit, but not the fulness as Jesus promises here (Augustine). Jesus continues, Bede comments, to petition the Father for the Spirit to dwell in their hearts – and in ours. He promises them the Spirit because he is now about to leave them and knows they will need the comfort and strength which the Spirit will bring them. (St Gregory Nazianzus). He refers to the Spirit as the Comforter so that no one can confuse Him with the Son (Ambrose). Jesus himself intercedes, hence Him saying that the Paraclete is ‘another intercessor’. The Spirit is God, and as the consubstantial third person of the Trinity (Augustine) completes the work of the Father and the Son (Athanasius). Truth is a characteristic of the Spirit and he reveals the Truth of the one who sent Him (St Basil). The sinful world caught up in the worship of its own image cannot receive the Spirit of Truth, but the followers of Christ can and he reveals all truth to them (Augustine).

If we say we love God and do not keep his cpommandments then we lie (1 John 4:20). If we love him we keep our self-will in check (Gregory the Great). God will not dwell in the midst of the filth of sin, so we must prepare our hearts to be a fit and proper place for his dwelling (St Cyril). When the Spirit resides in us, we are united with God, and what the Spirit testifies to is what God says to us – there is no separation between Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Gregory the Great).

Leo the Great tells us that Jesus withdraws his bodily presence for a while to abide at the right hand of the Father until the time when he will come again to judge the living and the dead. Until then, what was visible in Christ is now veiled in mystery, and so that faith might be more perfect and steadfast, vision was succeeded by revealed truth whose authority the hearts of the faithful, illuminated by light from above would now begin to follow.

Chrysostom says that, knowing they would be desolate and sad, Christ promises them the Comforter, so they will will know that there will be some good coming as he leaves this world for now. Gregory the Great reminds his readers that the Greek ‘paraclete’ means advocate or counsellor in Latin. he is an advocate because he intervenes with the Father on our behalf – as Paul testifies in Romans (8:26). He consoles because he offers the hope of pardon for our sins.