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The Spirit— hope of a new world

We are at the Last Supper and Jesus promises not to leave the disciples alone, without protection and without guidance. 

He will pray to the Father, and he “will send another Paraclete” that will remain with them forever (v.16). It is the promise of the gift of that Spirit that Jesus possessed
in fullness (Luke 4:1,14,18) and that will be poured out on the disciples.

The Spirit is called the Paraclete because he comes to the rescue of the disciples in their struggle against the world, that is, against the forces of evil (John 16:7-11).

At this point a question arises: if the Paraclete is such a powerful defender, why does evil continue to prevail over good and why does sin so often dominate us? 

The Christians of the communities of Asia Minor at the end of the first century also wondered why the new world was not immediately established and in a prodigious way. 

Jesus answers these doubts and uncertainties in this way: “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make a room in his home” (v.23).

He was not referring to a material sanctuary. It is in the man Jesus that God fulfilled the promise and has made himself present (John 1:14). 

Now—ensures Jesus—God dwells and is made visible in the disciple who loves as he loved. For this is not difficult to recognise if and when the devil is present in a man and when Jesus and the Father are instead present and act in him.

In the last verse, Jesus promises the Holy Spirit, “the Paraclete who will teach and remind” all that he said (v.26). Jesus said it all; he did not leave out anything, yet it is necessary that the Spirit continues to teach because he could not explain all the implications and practical applications of his message. 

In the history of the world—he knew—the disciples would always be faced with new situations and questions, which they had to answer in the light of the gospel. 

Jesus assures: if they will stay in tune with the promptings of the Spirit present in them, they will always find the answer in conformity with his teaching.

The Spirit does not teach in the same way a professor does in school when he explains the lesson. He teaches in a dynamic way, becomes an inner impulse, irresistibly pushes us in the right direction, stimulates the good in us, and leads us to make choices consistent with the gospel.

 “He will guide you into the whole truth”—explains Jesus at the Last Supper (John 16:13)—and, in his first letter, John explains: “You have received from him an anointing, and it remains in you, so you do not need someone to teach you. His anointing teaches you all things, it speaks the truth and does not lie to you; so remain in him and keep what he has taught you” (1 John 2:27-28).


Father Fernando Armellini SCJ
Claretian Publications