A sermon on John 14:15-21
Fr. Mike Paraniuk
By Fr. Mike Paraniuk
St. Mary Catholic Church (Hillsboro,
St. Benignus Catholic Church (Greenfield),
Saint Mary Queen of Heaven Catholic Church (Peebles)
Holy Trinity Catholic Church (West Union)
When you love someone, you do what pleases them. The five most important words in a successful marriage is "I will do the dishes."
Jesus says, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." (John 14:15.) The command of Jesus is this: "This is my commandment: love one another as I love you." (John 15:12.) Jesus then promises to send us an "advocate" from Heaven. An advocate is a person who supports a cause. Jesus says this advocate will "teach you everything and remind you of all that I said to you." (John 14:26.)
The purpose of this Heavenly advocate is to make you an earthly advocate. You advocate for Jesus every time you do what Jesus did. What did Jesus do? He welcomed everyone to the Father. He excluded no one. He made lives better by condemning no one and forgiving everyone.
When you love like Jesus, He will tear down your walls of fear and judgement that imprisoned your heart. He will free you to accept others as they are, to love the unlovable, and to lift up to God's Grace those who feel unwanted. An earthly advocate makes Jesus real and alive every time you open your heart in love. An advocate announces God's Good News by your life.
The movie called "Jesus Revolution" shows wonderfully what God's advocates should do. It's the story of Chuck Smith, a stern, rigid but respected pastor of a California church. In 1968, his church is dying because his older congregation is dying. Young hippies are moving in to replace them.
Pastor Smith is unable to connect with this carefree crowd who don't even wear shoes. With the help of his open-minded daughter, he begins to connect with the hippies. They join his church, which angers the older members who look down on them. These hippies don't belong here. They go to church with dirty feet that muddy the carpet. How dare they.
The pastor advocates for Jesus in a beautiful way. He kneels down at the church door. With a towel and water bowl he welcomes each hippie by washing their feet. Once inside, Pastor Smith offers a reflection. He read the words inscribed on the Statue of Liberty when visiting New York. "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free."
As I read those words I thought, well, that's Christianity, isn't it? It's the essence of it. An invitation to the broken. Jesus was very friendly with the outcasts. In Revelation 22, it says that the one who can hear say "come." Let the one who is thirsty come. Let the one who desires take the waters of life freely.
Pastor Chuck, holding the Bible in his hand, emotionally declares to the worshipping hippies seeking Jesus, "This place is yours. If you feel like you're misunderstood and judged, this is where you belong. If you feel ashamed or trapped in something you have done or are doing, you will find forgiveness and freedom...right here.
Every one of us who come into this church bring dirty souls. Don't try to deny your dirt by looking at the dirty souls of others. We all need to be washed clean. "But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:7.)
The blood of Jesus can wash away even the deepest stains. You don't need stain remover "Twenty Mule Team Borax." You only need "One Man King Jesus." Let the church say "Amen."
John says our need for cleansing gives us fellowship with each other. Jesus said in John 13:14-15, "Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you."
Wash each other's feet with mercy, with faith, with compassion, with love. Thats's what advocates do.