An Advocate is a person who pleads for the cause of another person. An advocate helps, speaks or writes in support of something or somebody. The Greek word that John uses here is Paraklētos (Παράκλητος) meaning a Paraclete, advocate, helper.
Jesus knows what lies ahead of the apostles of Jesus and He promises them, the coming of the Advocate; a Helper who will be with them.
When the Advocate comes, he will be His witness and stand with them in the face of challenges.
In the Gospel.
The discussion from the readings of last week continues. Jesus takes a good time to strengthen His apostles for the task ahead. Jesus knows the impact, leaving His apostles would be on them.
He knows the trauma, the uncertainty and the enormous task facing them. To make this task easier for them, He promises them an Advocate, a Helper, the Holy Spirit to be with them.
When the Advocate comes, He will strengthen their faith in the midst of fear and uncertainties and help them to conquer boundaries they might not conquer on their own power.
Every Christian needs the Holy Spirit if we truly want to be effective in our ministry. This is a sign that we cannot do everything alone.
We cannot depend solely on our human power and efforts to be effective. We need the Holy Spirit. When the Advocate the Holy Spirit comes, He will conquer boundaries that we may not be able to conquer on our own power.
He Will Testify.
Jesus says to them, When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, He will testify on my behalf.
Here the Greek word “martyrēsei” was used by John to explain what it means to testify. Jesus uses an analogy of words used in the law court to drive home what he means. “Martyrēsei” simply means to bear witness. Like in the court, to say that this is true or not.
It serves as evidence or proof of something or for someone. Jesus sends the Spirit to testify that truly He is the Messiah. This should be a sign for more to believe in Him.
The coming of the Advocate will reveal truly who Jesus is. Therefore we need the Holy Spirit if we truly want to develop strong faith in Jesus. When the Advocate comes, the way we believe will definitely change.
We are called to be Witnesses
Jesus in turn tells His apostles, You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning. This is because they have had a personal experience with Jesus and have heard from Him.
To testify and bear witness to something, I must have personal experience, so that I can say: ‘This is true or not true. ’ To do this the apostles had personal experience with Jesus and empowered with the Presence of the Holy Spirit.
In the same way, we are called to be living witnesses not just by what we preach only but by the way we live our lives.
The easiest way to do this is to seek a personal and intimate relationship with the Lord and pray for the infilling of the Holy Spirit. By then our acts, our words will be so much inspired.
To make this possible, we need the Advocate. When the Advocate comes to dwell in our hearts, He will strengthen our relationship with God and make us become true light to the world darkened by sin.
He will Strengthen Us.
In the gospel, Jesus says to His disciples “I have told you this that your faith will not be shaken. Jesus knows very well what is coming to them. He knows they are going to suffer and this may shake their faith.
He reminds them that they will expel them from the synagogues and threaten their lives. Some who are going to do this may believe that He is doing a holy duty for God. Therefore, Jesus is strengthening them to be mindful of this hour.
Their persecutors may think they are working for God as most religions think today but truly they lack the true knowledge of God. Therefore, they need an Advocate who will strengthen them to undergo these times of torments.
In the same way, We need the Holy Spirit, When the Holy Spirit comes, He will strengthen our faith to undergo even the worst without losing it.
He Will Protect Us from Stumbling
Jesus explains to His apostles that the reason He is doing this is to keep them from stumbling. They will face agony, betrayal, torture, persecutions, insults, backbiting, even murder etc but they have to stand their ground because they are not alone. These they may not do on their own.
They have to work with the power from on High. Everyone who is truly interested in touching lives, inspiring souls to conversion, evangelization and promoting Jesus should know it is not a field to enjoy.
Once you live to preach and stand against evil, the devil will not just fold hands and watch you destroy His kingdom, He will try to frustrate and fight you but do not forget you are not alone. There is always victory at last.
When everything becomes hard, remember it is not by your power or might but by the Spirit of God. ( Zech 4:6). When we also encounter challenges in our different apostolate and ministry, remember you have a Helper who is willing to show you the way out.
He is willing day in and day out, just that sometimes we are so weak even to open our mouths and utter “Holy Spirit help me”.
Sometimes we become so faithless that we doubt whether these are true or just mere words. That we do not see things happen does not mean they do not happen. We need the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is real. He inspires, He helps, and He prays with us.
May God fill you with the power of His Divine Spirit and may every challenge you are passing through bow before Him. Amen.