We close the fourth chapter of Book Three with the comforting final words of that chapter. We invoke the Holy Spirit to live in truth and humility, to reject the base things of the world and to focus on eternal life with God.
The promise of Jesus to send the Holy Spirit comes in today’s Gospel (Jn 14:15-21) the first of five times during the Last Supper Discourse. The Lord knows the apostles will need this great gift in order to preach boldly the Word of God to an unbelieving world hostile toward the truth, with many denying there is such a thing as truth altogether (see Jn 18:38). But they must keep the commandments if they truly love the Lord (Jesus repeats this twice in this short passage to emphasize its importance).
We must “despise earthly things” in order to keep the commandments. Inordinate affection for material goods leads us away from God. If an offense in this area is particularly serious we are in danger of cutting ourselves off from the life of God in us (see CCC 1854-1861). So, if we want to discern clearly the truth of God, we must regularly examine ourselves, repent of sins, confess them to God and His priest, and firmly resolve to not commit these offenses again. In order to see clearly the truth we cannot lose the Spirit through our own wickedness. How will we convey the truth to, at best, a skeptical culture when we ourselves have exchanged the truth for a lie (see Rom 1:25) for the sake of some temporary pleasure that defies God’s law? What sort of example do we set when we don’t walk the talk? Do we wish to be responsible for driving persons away from the one true Faith?
Let us not be slaves to sin but rather always remember that, as Jesus said, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (Jn 8:31-32) — free “to love heavenly things” and to invite our neighbor to join us in doing so.