Sixth Sunday of Easter


The phrase “he remains with you” is what someone who himself is leaving would say. And so, to calm their grief, he says that as long as he remains with them the Spirit won’t come, which means they wouldn’t come to know the greater or more sublime things to come. He wanted them, in other words, to see his departure as a blessing. Notice how he often calls [the Spirit] Comforter, because of the troubles they had to deal with. And since they were still troubled, even after hearing all this, because of their sadness, the struggles and his departure, he calms them again by saying, “Peace I leave you.” … And because he brings up the subject of leaving again, which is enough in itself to trouble them, he again says, “Do not let your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”1


Many of you, dearly beloved, know that the Greek word Paraclete means in Latin “advocate” or “consoler.” He is called an advocate because he intervenes before the Father’s justice on behalf of the wrongdoings of sinners. He who is of one substance with the Father, and the Son is said to plead earnestly on behalf of sinners because he causes those whom he fills to do so. This is why Paul says, “For the Spirit himself pleads for us with unutterable groanings.”3 But one who pleads is of less importance than the one receiving the plea. How is the Spirit, then, who is not less important, said to plead? The Spirit pleads, rousing those he fills to plead. The same Spirit is called a consoler because when he prepares a hope of pardon for those grieving over their sins he is lifting up their hearts from sorrow and affliction.2


The Spirit does not take up his abode in someone’s life through a physical approach. How could a corporeal being approach the bodiless One? Instead, the Spirit comes to us when we withdraw ourselves from evil passions that have crept into the soul through its friendship with the flesh, alienating us from a close relationship with God. Only when a person has been cleansed from the shame of his evil and has returned to his natural beauty, and [only when] the original form of the royal image has been restored in him, is it possible for him to approach the Paraclete. Then, like the sun, he will show you in himself the image of the invisible, and with purified eyes you will see in this blessed image the unspeakable beauty of its prototype.

When a sunbeam falls on a transparent substance, the substance itself becomes brilliant and radiates light from itself. So too Spirit-bearing souls, illumined by him, finally become spiritual themselves, and their grace is sent forth to others.3


No one should attribute to his teacher what he understands from him, because unless there is an inner teacher, the one outside is exerting himself in vain. You all hear equally the single voice of the person speaking, and yet you each have a different perception of the meaning. 4


It is the part of those who have been perfected not to be easily influenced by worldly things or to be troubled with fear or tormented with suspicion or stunned with dread or distressed with pain. Rather, as if on a shore of total safety, they ought to calm their spirit, immovable as it is in the anchorage of faith against the rising waves and tempests of the world. Christ brought this support to the spirits of Christians when he brought an inner peace to the souls of those who had proved themselves, so that our heart should not be troubled or our spirit be distressed.… The fruit of peace is the absence of disturbance in the heart. In short, the life of the righteous person is calm, but the unrighteous person is filled with disquiet and disturbance. Therefore the ungodly person is struck down more by his own suspicions than most people are by the blows of others, and the stripes of the wounds in his soul are greater than those in the bodies of those who are lashed by others.5


If we are children of God, we ought to be peacemakers. “Blessed,” says he, “are the peacemakers. For they shall be called the sons of God.” It behooves the children of God to be peacemakers, gentle in heart, simple in speech, agreeing in affection, faithfully linked to one another in the bonds of unanimity.6


This peace he left, after a fashion, in his last will and testament to his disciples, our apostles. As he was about to go to the Father, you see, he said, “My peace I give, my peace I leave to you.” And he did not separate Judas from himself, though he would not have been making a mistake if he had wished to separate him. I mean he would never separate an innocent person instead of a guilty one, or by separating the guilty forsake the innocent.… It was Judas himself who separated himself from the Lord. He was tolerated to the very end. He gave the kiss of peace, though he did not have peace in his heart. And yet he accepted the kiss of peace. That kiss did not bind him to Christ. It condemned him.7


The God of peace is Christ, who said, “My peace I give you, my peace I leave you.” … But the peace of God is one thing, the peace of the world another, because even malignant and foul people have peace, but [this is] to their damnation. The peace of Christ is free from sins. For it flees faithlessness, spurns trickery and rejects evil deeds. This peace is pleasing and congenial to God, hostile to the devil. A person who has peace will also have love and the God of both to keep him safely guarded forever.8


Whenever … it seems that the Son is shown to be less than the Father, interpret it as spoken … not to show one is greater or less than the other but … that one has his origin from the other.9


  1. HOMILIES ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 75.3.  Elowsky, J. C. (Ed.). (2007). John 11–21 (p. 149). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  2. FORTY GOSPEL HOMILIES 30.  Elowsky, J. C. (Ed.). (2007). John 11–21 (p. 149). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  3. ON THE HOLY SPIRIT 9.22–23.  Elowsky, J. C. (Ed.). (2007). John 11–21 (p. 150). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  4. FORTY GOSPEL HOMILIES 30.  Elowsky, J. C. (Ed.). (2007). John 11–21 (p. 151). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  5. JACOB AND THE HAPPY LIFE 2.6.28.  Elowsky, J. C. (Ed.). (2007). John 11–21 (p. 152). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  6. THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH 24.  Elowsky, J. C. (Ed.). (2007). John 11–21 (pp. 152–153). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  7. SERMON 313E.3.  Elowsky, J. C. (Ed.). (2007). John 11–21 (p. 153). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  8. COMMENTARY ON 2 CORINTHIANS 13.11.2.  Elowsky, J. C. (Ed.). (2007). John 11–21 (p. 153). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  9. ANSWER TO MAXIMUS 2.14.8.  Elowsky, J. C. (Ed.). (2007). John 11–21 (p. 156). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
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