Confucius once said, just as there are four seasons in nature, so also will everyone in this life go through four main stages of a natural cycle of life: from birth to old age, and then from sickness to death. When our life is heading toward an autumn and then a winter period, we will feel as if our life has become fruitless, and at times old age causes us to be dominated by a sense of emptiness and pain due to our physical and mental decline. Consequently, we may feel barren and lacking in confidence in the normal practice of daily life, because we are not as strong and as independent as we used to be. This may trigger us to question ourselves, Is there more to life beyond this world that we should be waiting for? The answer is ‘Yes, indeed, there is.’
In today’s Gospel (John 14:15-21), Jesus promised his disciples to wait for the coming of the Promised Advocate that is the Holy Spirit who is to be with them forever. The Holy Spirit, who brings about the Eternal Spring of our spiritual life, is also given to each of us as a gift of Jesus. The Holy Spirit has been poured into our heart through our baptism. The indwelling Spirit of God is always with us. The Holy Spirit continuously prompts us to bear the fruits which last forever. There are twelve of them: peace, joy, love, charity, kindness, generosity, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, meekness, chastity and self-control. These fruits of the Holy Spirit do not depend on our age, but they depend on our intensity of love for Jesus. To bear these fruits from within us, our eyes must be fixed on the heavenly kingdom of God and not on our earthly reality.
Fr. Tien Cao