In one of many funny scenes from The Office – the sitcom that revolves around a group of a staff of people working in a Paper supply company in Scranton, PA – Michael Scott, the boss who is regularly clueless, incredibly awkward and unprofessional finds himself in trouble once again. This time for forwarding inappropriate emails. As he is meeting with his supervisor Jan, a rep from HR (Toby, poor, poor Toby) and a lawyer – suddenly into the meeting bursts another lawyer. Michael, proving again how clueless he is, has hired one of those firms you see advertised on day time television to defend him, feeling his “Freedom of speech” has come under attack for getting reprimanded for sending the joke emails. Incredulously, Jan his boss points to the corporate lawyer whos been sitting there and explains he’s your lawyer Michael – He’s here to protect you… corporate has him on retainer to protect you. They instantly cut to the next scene and you see a much more relaxed Michael being interviewed by himself saying “I’m so used to being the bad boy, so used to fighting corporate that I forget, I am corporate.”
That scene came to mind reading this Gospel where Jesus talks about the advocate that He is sending for us (it’s frightening sometimes how an A.D.D. mind can work) For so many Catholics, despite our teaching about the Sacraments – where we have direct, personal, intimate encounters with the Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – for the vast majority of people when they are polled about their relationship with the Lord still speak in ways that makes Him seem distant and removed. It’s one of many failures in how effective we have been in our teaching the truly good news that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We can be oblivious to the fact that God desires closeness not distance… that the Lord is looking to nurture our relationship, not look for reasons, keep track of failures and sins that would separate us. That’s what He said (you office fans get the joke) in today’s Gospel: That another way God comes to us, as the Holy Spirit, is as our advocate. It is the brokenness that is part of the human experience that causes us to forget we are made in the image of God. But “corporate has sent us a lawyer,” if you will. The Holy Spirit has been poured out upon us not to fight us, but rather fight with us to become the fullness of who God created us to be.