In the second of our three readings for the Third Sunday of Easter John assures us that if we sin (and everyone does) we have an Advocate. In legal terms an advocate is one who hears our case and presents it to the court. The idea of having an Advocate somewhere up there in the court of Heaven does not seem reassuring. Sometimes we need a live human advocate, one we can actually see.
This is a function served by sponsors in the Rite of Christian Initiation and spiritual directors or sponsors in other spiritual programs. Those of us who have had sponsors know the value of an advocate. Those of us who have been privileged to serve in this capacity know it as well. This value depends in a large part on the fact that the advocate shares our weakness and vulnerability and can therefore make our case in a sympathetic manner. John assures us that:
Our heavenly Advocate understands our case, states it, and rescues us from our sins.
Stunning, just stunning - but I would never feel it if it were not for my human advocates.