Jesus is speaking to his disciples at the Last Supper. He looks ahead, beyond his death and resurrection, to the time after he has returned to his Father; and he tells his disciples that they will not be left alone. The Father and the Son will send the Holy Spirit to be with the disciples. The Spirit is described as Parakletos – a word that means advocate, counsellor or supporter. The Spirit of truth will stand alongside the disciples and be the life of their community; ‘…he is with you, he is in you.’ The world cannot receive or recognise the Spirit, but the Spirit works powerfully in the disciples who love Jesus, drawing them into the loving relationship of Father, Son and Spirit.
In the First Reading, from the Acts of the Apostles, we see the Holy Spirit at work. The power of the Spirit can even overcome the ancient enmity between Jews and Samaritans; the people of the Samaritan town welcome Philip and come to faith in Christ, and they are cleansed of demons and healed of sickness. A Spirit-filled Church is a living and healing Church. This time of pandemic, when we cannot enter our church buildings or gather as a community, challenges us to reconsider what it means to be a Church. The Church is a community of disciples, united in faith and filled with the Holy Spirit. We are a Church when we live by Christ’s commandments of love for God and for our neighbour. There are many ways to show love, even in these strange times. Our life as a Church is not confined to buildings or structures. The Spirit knows no limits.