Pentecost Sunday

05-15-2016Weekly Reflection

In the United States military, the Judge Advocate General's Corps (JAG) is the legal branch concerned with military justice and military law. Judge Advocates can serve as legal advisers to commanders. They can also act as prosecutors in courts-martial, or serve on the defense team. The first encounter many people had with this branch of the service was through the television series JAG that began in 1995 and aired on CBS through 2005. For ten seasons viewers followed the exploits of military lawyers in plots that occasionally stretched credulity.

The next general exposure of the Judge Advocate General's Corps to the public was through the military commissions set up to bring to trial those who were interred at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Unlike the television series, the JAG officers in this setting were deadly serious about their duties. Whether for the defense or the prosecution, they were determined to show the face of justice.

The Gospel for this weekend is a bit of a reprise from that of two weeks ago. Again we hear Jesus promising to send an Advocate who will be with us always. That Advocate is the Holy Spirit whose coming upon the church we celebrate this day. This Advocate is also serious about his duties. The Holy Spirit doesn't wear a uniform or carry a briefcase. We won't see the Spirit saluting or reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. As Advocate, the Holy Spirit teaches us the ways of Christ and opens our hearts to his message.

In their role as adviser, defender, or prosecutor, Judge Advocates are there to explain the law and hold others accountable to it. We heard just a few weeks ago that the law that Christ gave to his disciples is to love one another, a command reiterated in today's Gospel when Jesus tells his disciples to keep his word. As advocate, the Holy Spirit, dwelling in our hearts, will hold us accountable to Christ's law of love.

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