Acts 15:1-2, 22-29; Ps 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8; Rev 21:10-14, 22-23; John 14:23-29
St. Francis of Assisi gave us this powerful prayer. "Most high and glorious God, enlighten the darkness of our minds. Instill in us a correct faith, a certain hope, perfect love and profound humility, O lord, with wisdom and understanding to truly carry out Your holy will." (We ask in Jesus’ Name.)
St. John, apostle and evangelist, with his brother James and Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, were the first to follow Jesus in his public life. John was the only apostle not martyred and lived to be about 100. he had many years to reflect on his Jewish faith and all that Jesus taught them. His gospel, letters and Book of Revelation, gives us great understanding of who God, our Father is. who Jesus is and what he was about. And he tells us the basic work of God the Holy Spirit. In the Nicene Creed, we say at Sunday Mass, we say: "I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son, he is worshiped and glorified."
We have come over time to understand some of the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. We are six weeks from Easter and two week until Pentecost, the gift of the Holy Spirit to lead us to Jesus and salvation. At daily Masses these weeks before Pentecost, the church gives us five major teachings about the Holy Spirit and his work in our lives. Since Pentecost, almost 2,000 years ago, the Holy Spirit has been directing the church, if we listen and follow. The world is a mess as the direct result of humanity not listening and following God’s plan.
The major work of the Holy Spirit is expressed in the second saying of St. John in these chapters. Today’s gospel passage gives us this major work: John 14:27, “The Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my Name, will instruct you in everything and remind you of all that I told you." In the sacrament of Baptism we received the Holy Spirit’s light of wisdom and understanding to help us personally grow into God’s likeness.
At Confirmation we are given an increase of these gifts, light of wisdom and understand, to teach us how to serve others with this God power. Because these teachings at daily Mass are spread out over two weeks, we miss the meaning and significance of these powers. Here is the list.
1st — John 14:16-17 "I / will ask the Father
and he / will give / you / another / Paraclete,
(The first 1 was Jesus)
to be with / you / always: The SPIRIT OF TRUTH,
whom the world cannot accept,
since it neither sees him nor recognizes him;
but you can recognize him
because he / remains / with you and will be within / you."
The Paraclete is like a public defender, helping us before the judgment of God for our sins. Jesus with the first paraclete and the Holy Spirit is the second.paraclete and the Holy Spirit is the second.
2nd — John 14:26 "This much have I told you while I was still with you;
The Paraclete, the Holy Spirit
whom the Father / will send / in my Name, will
INSTRUCT you / in everything, and
REMIND you of all / that I / told / you.
`Peace' is my farewell to you, my peace is my gift / to you."
3rd — John 15:26 "When the Paraclete comes, the SPIRIT OF TRUTH
who comes / from the Father —
and whom I myself / will send / from the Father – he will
bear WITNESS on my behalf.
You must bear witness as well,…."
To bear witness is to understand why God made the universe, me and my mission here on earth. It means to know where he wants me to spend eternity, with him in glory. As we come to know God the truth of God’s plan, we are instructed to heal others, to witness this truth to many other people in the world so they can get to heaven through Jesus Christ.
4th — John 16:7-8 "Yet I tell you the sober truth:
It is much better for you that I go.
If I fail to go, the PARACLETE will never come to you,
whereas if I go, I will send him to you.
When he comes, he (Holy Spirit) will prove / the world wrong /
about sin, about justice, about condemnation."
This is also our mission. By the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we learn how to help others find God’s truth.
5th — John 16:13 "When he comes, however, being the SPIRIT OF TRUTH,
He will GUIDE you to all truth. (see John 8:31-32)
He will not speak on his own, but will speak only what he hears,
and will ANNOUNCE / to you / the things / to come (the future).
14: In doing this he will give glory to me, because
he will have received / from me / what he will announce / to you.”
As we follow God’s plan, he will continue to guide us and lead us safely into the future and ultimately to heaven. Praise God!
Before Jesus went back to heaven, at his Ascension, which we celebrate this coming week, Thursday or next Sunday, Jesus said this to his followers. "Wait for the fulfillment of my Father’s promise, of which you have heard me speak. John baptized with water, but within a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit,” Acts 1:4b-5. A little later, Jesus said, "4b-5. A little later, Jesus said, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes down on you; then you are to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, yes, even to the ends of the earth," Acts 1:8.
This coming Friday the Church begins a Solemn Novena in preparation for Pentecost Sunday. Over the years I put together 9 Days of short teachings on the Holy Spirit. If you would like a copy in rtf format, email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. So let us often reflect on these major works of the Holy Spirit and say our "yes" today to his guidance. Have a Spirit filled week.
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2016 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)