Some folks have a rather harsh image of God. They envision a distant God, ruling over everything and everyone from an on-high vantage point. This God is a ruler and a tester, a judge or an inquisitor, expecting us to live up to a set of rules and regulations or requiring us to pass the litmus test, which weighs our accomplishments against our transgressions. In this perception, Jesus’ role was crucial: to go before God and soften His anger over our failures. Seeing Jesus as "Advocate" in this way, he becomes our defense attorney before a fearsome God. A lot of people in our communities still hold these notions of God.
But another perspective is necessary, one that fulfills the hope that Jesus gives us in the Gospel.
In reality, we need the Advocate, not to argue our case to God, but to argue God’s case to us. The Advocate that Jesus sends his followers intercedes on God’s behalf and reminds us of God’s love for us. This Advocate – this Spirit - helps us live Jesus’ way of love for others. This Advocate persuades us and enables us to love as he loved and to serve others as He served. Such love will require an enormous amount of courage and a persevering commitment.
Jesus freed His disciples from the tyranny of law. He did this not by abolishing or changing the law, but by dethroning it from its place of primacy, revitalizing it and making it subordinate to love and compassion. This is what we call the law of the Spirit. When our lives are governed not by a network of laws but by the fire of the Spirit that burns within us, then the limitless power of the Spirit is unleashed with incredible force.
The Spirit impels us to live as beloved of God. He tells us “if you love me, you will keep my commandments. My father will love you and we will come to you and make our home within you.” The community formed by Jesus was one empowered by the Spirit and the community was where the language of love and compassion was not only spoken but lived.
Jesus shattered all previous conceptions of who God is and what man is meant to be. He reaches out and touches the hopes and fears, the celebrations and desolations of each of us. He is the Incarnation of the compassion of the Father,and He reveals a God who is not indifferent but one who continues to live and breathe within us.
In almost every verse of today’s Gospel passage Jesus assures us that we will not be left on our own. He will never abandon us. If we can believe this, then despite the obstacles that we face in life, despite the walls that we may build around ourselves for safety and for protection, and despite the doors that we may lock and hide behind – suddenly, without our even knowing, the Spirit will be present among us, will breathe on us and will bring us His peace.