Praying Sunday’s Gospel: May 17

Resources for Lectio Divina + Visio Divina + Audio Divina + Video Divina

6th Sunday of Easter ,  May 17th, 2020

John 14:15-21. Sunday Mass Readings from Living With Christ

I will not leave you orphaned…

John 14:18

Lectio Divina

Today’s Gospel is a continuation of last week’s Gospel: Jesus is speaking to his disciples at the Last Supper. In today’s reading Jesus offers encouragement to his disciples, who will soon see him crucified. He reassures them that even though he will leave them, he will not abandon them. Instead he will send them the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, through whom the disciples will continue to live in union with Jesus.

Jesus uses the term Advocate to describe the Holy Spirit, whom the disciples will receive. Another word used to describe the Holy Spirit is Paraclete, a legal term meaning “one who offers defense for another.” Note that Jesus says that he will send “another Advocate.” Jesus himself is the first advocate, interceding for his disciples with the Father.

In today’s reading Jesus contrasts his impending departure with the permanence of the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus will leave to return to the Father, but the Holy Spirit will remain with the disciples.

Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the disciples will come to know and appreciate the unity of the Son and the Father. They will also understand that they too participate in the communion between the Father and the Son: “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you” (John 14:20).

Today’s reading is one example of the contrast that John’s Gospel presents between the community of disciples, to whom God will reveal himself, and the unbelieving world, which will remain in darkness. The unbelieving world cannot accept the “Spirit of truth,” whom the disciples will receive. Only through the Spirit will God’s revelation and love be known.


  1. During this pandemic we often feel alone. How do you deal with these feelings?
  2. The image that Jesus gives for us is the Advocate. What other images of the Holy Spirit do you feel closest too?
  3. How do you feel the presence of the Holy Spirit during this pandemic?

Other Resources for Lectio Divina of John 14: 15-21

Audio Divina and Video Divina

View the video and answer the reflection questions below.

  1. What is love?
  2. The words from this song come from I Corinthians 13. What are the most important characteristics of love in this passage?
  3. How is the popular understanding of love similar and different from the understanding of love in this song?
  4. Love can be seen as more than feelings but also including a series of actions and decisions to help others. How does the video demonstrate this understanding?
  5. The Holy Spirit is the great teacher of love. What does God want to teach us about love?

Visio Divina

Swanson, John August. A Visit, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved May 15, 2020]. Original source: – copyright 1995 by John August Swanson.

Visio Divina of The Visit

  • Pray in quiet with your eyes closed. Bring yourself towards stillness.
  • Gaze at the image. Let your eyes rest on the characters and objects. Note your feelings as you examine the whole and parts of the work.
  • Read John 14:15-21
  • Gaze at the work again. Imagine that you are in this scene. What do you see from your vantage point? What you hear? smell? sense?
  • Read the “Reflection on the Painting” below and “Reflections on a Visit” by Gertrud Mueller Nelson. Note that while “The Visit” refers to the Annunciation, the larger topic is a survey of the works of redemption that occur in everyday life, how the followers of Jesus are loving one another.
  • How is the sacred present to you in this experience?
  • How does this Visio Divina relate to your life now?
  • What insight from this experience do you want to retain? How will you do that?
  • Complete the Visio Divina by offering a prayer of thanksgiving.

Reflection on the Painting

John August Swanson A Visit
A Visit is one of John Swanson’s greatest works. Created in 1995, A Visit
tells the story of The Annunciation in Swanson’s uniquely narrative style.
It takes the Annunciation and relates it to everyday life. It showcases the
angel Gabriel visiting Mary to announce the coming birth of Jesus. Mary
is not center stage, rapt in prayer, she is almost lost in the lower right
hand corner, fully engaged in life, feeding the chickens.

John Swanson uses the vertical composition to emphasize the
progression of the story. We go through the village first, making our way
down the streets, in and out of the various shops, dodging the animals to
find our way to the bottom, where Mary comes to meet us.
Interwoven through the picture are 25 scenes of people doing ordinary
tasks along with 27 vignettes of biblical stories. The meaning of the
Incarnation is borne out in this tapestry of everyday life. Our story
commingles with the story of God coming to earth and bringing forth new
life. The “little stories” all start pointing to that big story of “redemption.”

Reflections on A Visit: A Serigraph by John August Swanson

A new day breaks over the world.

The people awaken and set about their tasks.

Each has a talent to contribute, a chore to attend.

These are the ordinary daily actions that few would deem world-shaking, yet left undone, would fail to make the world go forward.

Their ordinary actions set life in motion.

The field must be plowed and the apples picked.

The old and the sick must be bathed and fed, the scriptures read, the bred baked, the animals watered, the laundry washed and hung in the sun.

The weaver creates a new cloth; the mother feeds her children.

The carpenters make sturdy furniture, the vintner waters the vine.

Women draw water from the springs.

The vendors sell their wares.

The shepherd lets his flock into the pastures.

Daily life is the material of spiritual life.

It’s that simple.

It’s so simple that few of us want to believe it.

A spiritual life is not about escaping the world and its daily requirements — it’s about infusing the world with a vision of the holy

Then we begin to weave real community – like a bright, whole tapestry where your task hinges on mine, your job mends where mine is worn thin.

This is not the milling of people where each person uses the next for personal ambition, but here each brings a gift to the rest of the world so that we can live in harmony.

For my job and your job is a grand business:

It is to find God

Not just dwelling in the hot sun’s eye – but discovering the divine in the earthly task at hand.

Then we entertain angels.

The divine and the human meet.

Heaven and earth are one.

-Gertrud Mueller Nelson

Christian.Art Today: In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places

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