Daily Meditation: "And you also must testify" (May 2, 2016)
Liturgical day: Monday 6th of Easter
Saints May 2nd: St. Athanasius , bishop and doctor of the Church
Gospel text (Jn 15,26—16,4): Jesus said to his disciples, "From the Father, I will send you the Spirit of truth. When this Helper has come from the Father, He will be my witness, and you, too, will be my witnesses for you have been with me from the beginning. I tell you all this to keep you from stumbling and falling away. They will put you out of the Jewish communities. Still more, the hour is coming when anyone who kills you will claim to be serving God; they will do this because they have not known the Father or me. I tell you all these things now so that when the time comes you may remember that I told you. I did not tell you about this in the beginning because I was with you".
"And you also must testify"
Fr. Higinio Rafael ROSOLEN IVE
(Cobourg, Ontario, Canada)
Today, in the Gospel, Jesus announces and promises the coming of the Holy Spirit: "When the Paraclete comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, he will testify about me" (John 15:26). "Paraclete" literally means "one called to the side of another", and is usually translated as "Comforter". In this way, Jesus reminds us of the goodness of God, for the Holy Spirit being God's love, He infuses into our hearts peace, equanimity in adversity and joy for the things of God. He makes us look at things above and join God.
Besides, Jesus also said to the Apostles: "And you must also testify" (Jn 15:27). To bear witness to it is necessary:
1º To have communion and intimacy with Jesus. This originates from our day-to-day behavior with Him: to read the Gospel, to hear His words, to know His teachings, to frequent His sacraments, to be in communion with His Church, to imitate His example, to fulfil His commandments, to identify Him in the Saints, to recognize Him in our brothers, to have His spirit and to love Him. It is a matter of having a personal and living experience of Jesus.
2º If it appears in our works our testimony is trustworthy. A witness is not only a person who knows something to be true but who is also willing to say it and live by it. What we experience and live by in our soul must be also transmitted beyond. We are witnesses of Jesus not only when we know His teachings, but - and mainly - when we want and make others to know Him and love Him. As the saying goes: "Words move people, examples compel them".
Pope Francis said: “I am grateful for the beautiful example given to me by so many Christians who joyfully sacrifice their lives and their time. This witness comforts and sustains me in my own effort to overcome selfishness and to give more fully of myself." And he added: "I especially want to ask you a testimony of fraternal communion that becomes attractive and radiant". This is always an enticing light.
"I will send you the Spirit of truth. When this Helper has come from the Father, He will be my witness"
Fr. Jordi POU i Sabater
(Sant Jordi Desvalls, Girona, Spain)
Today, the Gospel is almost as applicable as it was in the last years of St. John the Evangelist. In those days, to be a Christian was not in fashion (in fact, it was rather dangerous) as, now a days, it is not either. Should we want to be well regarded by our society, we better not be Christians, because, in many ways —as it happened to the first Christian Jews— "they will put us out of the Jewish communities" (Jn 16:2).
We are well aware that to be a Christian today is to go upstream. It has always been. Even when “everybody” was a Christian: those who really wanted to be Christians were not too well considered by some. If abiding by Jesus Christ's law, a Christian is a living witness of what God had planned for all men; it is the clear evidence that it is both possible to imitate Jesus Christ and to live with a man's dignity. Many, though, will not be pleased with this example, very much in the same way as Jesus displeased those who killed him. The reasons for this refusal may be several, and we have to bear in mind that, at times, our testimony will be taken as an accusation.
It would not be fair to say that, because of his writings, St. John was a pessimist: he gives us a vivid description of a victorious Church and of Christ's final triumph. It cannot be said either he did not have to go through the same suffering he describes. He does not hide the reality of life or the substance of Christian life: to fight.
A fight for all concerned, for we can never win by ourselves. The Holy Spirit is our battle partner who fights by our side. The Holy Spirit gives us the necessary strength. The Holy Spirit is the Protector, who delivers us from all danger. With The Holy Spirit by our side we should not be afraid of anything.
John fully trusted Jesus; He offered him his life. Thus, it was not difficult for him to trust He Who was sent by Him: the Holy Spirit.