Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: May 12. Lectionary # 293. Acts 17:15-22-18:1. Psalm 148:
1-2,11-12,12-14,14. John 16:12-15.
Our continuous reading of the last discourse or priestly prayer of Jesus
brings us to passages which mention the Holy Spirit as Paraclete or
Advocate. The passage also contains references to the Father and the Son.
Jesus is speaking quite openly and boldly to his disciples and of course to
us. We have already heard about his intimate relationship with his Father;
now he speaks of the Spirit who has been mysteriously hidden except for a
reference in chapter three and chapter seven (See John 3:5-8; 7:37-39).
The Holy Spirit will be sent from both Jesus and the Father. This
community of Persons is to be the source and strength for the disciples to
continue the plan of the Father through the Son and with the Spirit. They
and we are to witness to the words and deeds of Jesus. We are not to be
fearful in this calling to speak the truth over against what is evil in our
cultures no matter where we live. The Holy Spirit is the bond of love
between the Father and the Son. That same Spirit will be the one who gives
us the courage to say what is from the Gospel and how it relates to us
today. We believe that the uniqueness of each Person, Father, Son, and
Spirit are seen in John’s Gospel and yet they are one in the communion of
the divinity. Our faith needs to deepen and probe this mystery that often
has been forgotten and even hidden from us by those who preach the word of
God. Our spiritual perception is deepened by prayerful reflection that goes
beyond the surface of just considering these passages just another set of
words collected by some ancient author. The word of God is alive and active
as a two-edged sword for our hearts and minds.
The present sixteenth chapter is our source and fountain for nourishing our
faith and for deepening it so that we can boldly confess and profess it.
We are able to see this in the present passage where we realize there is a
Trinitarian dimension to what Jesus the Revealer is saying. His words have
led the disciples and apostles to come through the Paschal Mysteries with
him and to continue remembering those mysteries through the liturgy and our
prayers. Our attentive and faith-filled reading and meditating leads us to
fathom and enter the deeper things of God. We long for this intimacy and
Jesus helps us to understand how to believe in his divinity and humanity as
well as to trust in his word about the Father and the Spirit.
His word is truth. In the Fourth Gospel truth is not something abstract; it
is very real and foundational. Moreover here in our passage it is personal
and not idealogical or philosphical where truth resides only in the mind.
Yes, John’s Gospel is about agape love (unconditional, real, intimate and
totally non self-centered). Jesus is giving us this testament and covenant
of love as he speaks his farewell words to his disciples. Last words and
testaments are solemn and sacred. We will be comforted and challenged by
the Spirit who helps us realize that Jesus returns to the bosom of the
Father while ending his earthly journey with his being lifted up upon the
cross. John is bringing us back to the Prologue he redacted (John 1:1-18).
It is there that we are able to discern the plan of God which will unravel
in the rest of this Gospel and the other writings of the New Testament.
The Prologue is our guiding light as we move through our liturgies up to
the feast of Pentecost. Then the fullness of the Spirit will be the gift we
will enjoy for witnessing with boldness to the life, death, and
resurrection of Jesus. Amen. Alleluia.