Several years ago my husband and I went to Rome on vacation. We wanted to see the major tourist sites, and we wanted to make the most of our time there. We knew that Rome is a crowded city, so we hired a tour guide to show us around. It was a great decision. She took us to places at the Colosseum where tourists didn’t have access. She interpreted the historical and cultural significance of the sites and told us things we would not have known to ask. She made our day in Rome more meaningful than if we had tried to do it on our own.
In today’s passage, Jesus tells his disciples that he is going away, but that his Father will send them a guide—the Holy Spirit—to help them after he has gone. The Greek word paraclete literally translates as “one who comes alongside.” English versions variously translate it as Advocate, Counselor, Comforter, or Encourager. Whatever word we use, the meaning remains: The Holy Spirit is one who guides, assists, and helps.
Just as we read in our first reading of the week, wherein the Holy Spirit guides Paul and his companions to Macedonia to share the good news, this Advocate—this Counselor—is available to guide us today. The Holy Spirit is a personal, indwelling guide to help us love God, stay close to God, remember Jesus’ teachings, and remain in God’s peace.
How do you need the assistance of the Advocate most right now? Do you need guidance? Do you need comforting? Do you need the power and ability to complete an overwhelming task? The Advocate comes alongside you to strengthen, encourage, and empower you.
Jesus, thank you for sending us the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, the one who helps us. Amen.
The kingdom of God is constantly advancing by the power of the Holy Spirit. In Acts, Paul is driven forward in his missionary activity by the Spirit. He moves westward to Macedonia, where a woman named Lydia becomes the first known convert in Europe. This becomes a base for subsequent mission. In Revelation, the Spirit shows John the new Jerusalem, in which the Lamb will provide light for all nations. Jesus’ disciples wrestle with the idea that he would leave them. He teaches them that he will not leave them alone; he will send the Holy Spirit to empower them. The psalmist does not mention the Spirit but declares that all nations, not just the Israelites, will sing for joy because of God’s saving power.
Read Acts 16:9-15. Recall a specific time when you have followed God. How did you discern God’s voice? What did you do to follow through on God’s call?
Read Psalm 67. How do you share God’s blessings with the world?
Read Revelation 21:10, 22–22:5. What would it mean for there to be no separation between nations? no separation between you and God?
Read John 14:23-29. When have you experienced the Holy Spirit as your Advocate?
Respond by posting a prayer.