- John 15:26-16:4
- Coming of the Advocate and the World’s Hatred
In today’s gospel Jesus says that His major witnesses are the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete or the Advocate and each one of us. The responsibility is given to us now by Jesus to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about His saving words and loving works but of course with the help of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit testifies to Christ because He continues the work of Christ and bears witness to Him. The Holy Spirit enlightens us on the truth of Christ’s message and the reality of His person. When we hear His word the Holy Spirit works on our hearts and minds. Our intellect grasps the meaning and our heart embraces His message allowing us to live it in our lives.
We testify to Christ because we encounter Him first in our faith. Of course being a witness to Christ has never been easy. Persecutions cannot be avoided. There is always a price to pay for sticking with Jesus and many people have paid the ultimate cost of their own lives. Let us give Him the consolation of staying faithful no matter what. And we cannot bear witness to Jesus if we do not know Him personally. Christ is experienced in prayer and in sacraments. The strength of our witness depends on the depth of our own personal convictions. Only if we live and reflect faithfully Christ’s Gospel can we effectively testify to Him.
This witnessing of ours is a day-to-day dedication we give as loyal Christians, the way we work, pray and play. But of course the Holy Spirit is with us in making witness to Jesus. In others words, we are not alone in doing it, the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, the Consoler is always with us and helps us.
I’m sure you are very much familiar with St. Francis of Assisi. According to the book, Life of Francis d’Assisi, Francis once invited a young monk to join him on a trip to town to preach. Honored to be given the invitation, the monk readily accepted. All day long he and Francis walked through the streets, byways, and alleys and even into the suburbs. They rubbed shoulders with hundreds of people. At day’s end, the two headed back home. Not even once had Francis addressed a crowd, nor had he talked to anyone about the gospel. Greatly disappointed, his young companion said, “I thought we were going into town to preach.”
Francis responded, “My son, we have preached. We were preaching while we were walking. We were seen by many and our behavior was closely watched. It is of no use to walk anywhere to preach unless we preach everywhere as we walk!
At the end let us reflect these words on witnessing coming from John White. He said: “A good witness isn’t like a salesman the emphasis is on a person rather than a product. A good witness is like a signpost. It doesn’t matter whether it is old, young, pretty, ugly; it has to point the right direction and be able to be understood. We are witnesses to Christ, we point to him.”