Year C Sunday Gospel Reflections by John McKinnon

Receive the Holy Spirit …

Today's Gospel passage occurred recently on the Second Sunday of Easter. Its recurrence on this Feast of Pentecost provides the invitation to focus more closely on what it reveals of the role and action of the Spirit.

In his Last Supper discourses Jesus had referred to the Spirit as the "other Paraclete", indicating that the historical Jesus saw himself also as Paraclete. The other Paraclete, the Spirit, would continue to be for later disciples what Jesus himself had been for the first disciples who had known him "in the flesh". The title itself is significant. A Paraclete was someone who took the side of and supported another, one who accepted, as it were, the invitation or call to stand beside the one calling – whether that be understood as one who appeared on behalf of the accused in a courtroom trial [the original meaning] or even as a mother who lovingly responds to the call of a helpless infant.

Jesus had stood by, supported, formed and educated his first disciples. The Spirit-Paraclete would stand by, support, form and educate the disciples who succeeded them across the ages.

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Year C Sunday Gospel Reflections by John McKinnon

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John McKinnon is a priest of the diocese of Ballarat, Western Victoria, who studied for six years in Rome where he was ordained in 1957. On reaching the age of 75 in 2008, he retired from official parish work and has made himself available for other…


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John McKinnon is a priest of the diocese of Ballarat, Western Victoria, who studied for six years in Rome where he was ordained in 1957. On reaching the age of 75 in 2008, he retired from official parish work and has made himself available for other ministries in the diocese. During his life as priest he has been parish priest, Diocesan chaplain of the Young Christian Workers Movement, lectured at the Institute of Catholic Education in Ballarat, and worked at a national level in the ongoing education of priests. He has given retreats to priests in most of the dioceses of Australia, as well as to religious and laity. Of recent years, he has been drawn on to give regular spiritual support to priests, religious and laity, particularly in the more isolated areas of his diocese.

John said: "My aim in these talks is to provide background for people who wish to reflect on the Sunday Gospels in the light of their own personal experience and to apply them to their lives. I shall examine each text, seeking to explain details that may not be familiar, and trying to determine the particular nuances of Jesus' message that the author of the gospel wished to emphasise. I shall conclude each talk with three questions that may help people's personal reflection and application of the Gospel's message."

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