“I will not leave you orphaned,” Jesus promises us in Sunday’s gospel. God is not some ruthless heavenly spectator. Rather, God comes to love us in Jesus, promising to be ever-present with us in the Holy Spirit. This Holy Advocate moves us even when we don’t recognize its power, even when it seems “an unknown God” (Acts 17). In Athens, Paul faces the challenge of proclaiming the gospel to Greeks who know nothing of either Jewish or Christian tradition. He proclaims that the “unknown god” whom they worship is the true Lord of heaven and earth who came to earth not in “gold, silver, or stone” but in the living Jesus, whom God has raised from the dead. When Jesus makes this string of promises in John 14, saying that he will remain with us in the Holy Spirit as our Advocate, it’s hard to envision how this support comes to us sometimes. Yet, we sense his living presence in the work of the word, the taste of the meal, and the guiding hand of those who mother.
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