In today’s gospel reading, Jesus explains to His disciples that His departure means the arrival of the Advocate, or the Holy Spirit. This Advocate will “convict the world in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation.” These convictions regard the sin of not believing in Jesus, the revelation of righteousness, and the condemnation of the unrighteous powers of this world. In other words, the departure of Jesus from this world is going to bring about a change in which righteousness will be distinguished from unrighteousness, and even the powerful are judged. This is done by the Holy Spirit who is to come once the Son is accepted as righteous by the Father.
While this language of condemnation and judgment can incite questions and fear, it can also be the language of hope. This change, of which Jesus speaks, refers to the end of corruptions and abuses of power, particularly by those who have large influences. Such judgment would condemn the people and organizations that put their own greed in front of other’s lives. The coming of the Holy Spirit would bring about a kingdom in which righteousness will prevail, and those who seek peace and justice will be accompanied by God Themselves.
But clearly, Jesus ascended 2000 years ago, and our world is still full of injustices. This is because of the nature of the Kingdom of God that is “already but not yet.” Jesus declared repeatedly that the Kingdom of God was here, and that did not mean we immediately joined God for Eternity in body and spirit. What Jesus was talking about is that the Kingdom of God, in a sense, “has begun” or “has been determined” already, while the Kingdom of God will be fully realized/actualized in the future.
Our role in this "already but not yet," is to believe in that language of hope and dream of the full realization of the Kingdom of God where there will be condemnation of sin and unrighteousness. From visualizing it, we will gain the strength to withstand these times of oppression, greed, and hatred. Secondly, we must do our part in partnering in the actualization of the Kingdom of God. We must internalize that the stance of true Christian faith is never stagnant and demands action. Jesus’ message of hope is like a flame that gives us energy and light for greater purposes, not for us to simply watch it flicker away. We must ask ourselves, “How can I be an agent of change and fight for the liberation of the oppressed?" because Jesus, the ultimate liberator, who came to free us from the oppression of sin and death, is asking us to partner with Him now.
—Yonghoon Yoon. HS Math Teacher. Mentor, advocate, and fan of students.