The Commentaries Summarised
As a Church we are in a web of wisdom that comes to us both from tradition and contemporary writers. This section offers a summary of some commentaries on the Gospel. Also below is a list of the books and articles that have been consulted in compiling this Sunday's "Pray As You Can" and which could be used for further reading.
This Sunday's Commentary
This Sunday’s Gospel is two excerpts from the Last Discourse in the Gospel of John. The Gospels for the Vigil and Day Masses of Pentecost, across all the Sunday Cycles, come from the Gospel of John. In the Year A Day Mass, the Johannine “Pentecost” after Jesus’ Resurrection is described. All the other Gospel readings explore, in some way, how John presents the role of the Spirit in our lives. To appreciate today’s Gospel we need to look at both sections in their original context.
The first section, Jn 15:26-27, presents the Spirit as a witness to Jesus and as the one who leads the disciples to be witnesses to Jesus. This witnessing will not happen in a cosy circle of like-minded friends. Rather the context, both before and after, makes clear that it will happen in the midst of hostility and hatred: just as Jesus has been hated so too will they be hated. It will be with the power of the Spirit that the disciples, in the face of ongoing sustained enmity, will be able to continue to witness to Jesus and the revelation of God.
The second section, Jn 16:12-15, presents the Spirit as the teacher who leads the disciples into the complete truth and who, in due time, will reveal to them the things of God that they need to know. Around this section are references to the sadness, the ignorance and, by implication, the fragility of the disciples. Jesus is telling his disciples of his departure and quite simply, the disciples are distressed and terrified. What will be their future? Jesus consoles them by the promise of the Spirit who will be with them, teaching them as they need, leading them into the knowledge of the Father and of Jesus.