Daily Readings Reflection for 5/19/09

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Reflection on the Daily Readings for 5/19/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM

Today’s Readings

Scripture: Tue. of 6th week after Easter. Acts 16:22-34. Psalm
138:1-2.2-3.7-8. John 16:5-11. Lectionary # 292:

Today what we read or hear from the Gospel of John corresponds with the
themes of chapter 14, but there are some new and different emphases
especially in the role that the Holy Spirit will have after Jesus returns
to the Father.  Thus we are being prepared for both the Ascension of Jesus
this Thursday, forty days after his resurrection, and for the feast of
Pentecost, the birthday of the Church. Repetitions are part of the spiral
thinking so prevalent in John’s Gospel and his epistles. We are not in the
logical thought processes of the Western world but in the intuitive and
symbolic world of the Semitic mind.  In a sense, it is a relief from all
the red tape we normally have to go through in our daily lives.  Students
from other cultures realize how structured we are in our Western world of
politics and finances.  Moreover, we are so hurried and busy that it is
hard for us to sit down and think along the lines of John. Pondering over
is not easy for us.

The final redactors of John do not want to lose anything of the traditions
about Jesus seen from the Johannine perspective.  Thus they are not
concerned whether several themes or stories are repeated.  This is helpful
for us since we see the themes from a slightly different perspective but
always within the spiral circle of thinking that elevates the thought as
the Gospel continues without embarassment.

Since the return of Jesus is easily associated with Luke’s Ascension we are
thus helped by preparing our thoughts in line with what Jesus is saying
here. It is especially important for understanding John’s revelation about
the Holy Spirit which is presented here so emphatically in the first part
of chapter sixteen.  We have seen how the word Paraclete has several
meanings that should be kept in mind as we ponder over these verses. Here
we are in the dimension of the conviction or convincing role of the Spirit
with regards to sin, to judgment, and to condemnation of the prince of this
world (the Devil). Nor do we lose sight that the Ascension and Pentecost
are part of the mysteries of Christ (the Paschal Mysteries).

The Holy Spirit will be sent to us by both Jesus and the Father. The
promises of Christ will be fulfilled and we will know them because of our
belief in the Son of God, the Word made flesh. John’s Gospel will help us
find our way to understand the divinity of Christ while the Epistles of
John will secure his real human nature for us.

As we look at the three issues that Jesus is revealing to his disciples we
know it comes from his teaching and preaching.  These texts and their
authentic interpetation are necessary if the Church is to be faithful to
its call.  The word used then in the three issues deals with the
“conscience” of the Church which needs to keep in mind that the world which
is hostile to us, the Church and Jesus’ disciples, must not sin. Sin for
this Gospel is lacking the trust and belief in Jesus as a Person both Word
of God, and Son of Man. Secondly, our conscience and that of the Church is
reminded that the reality of Jesus return to the Father is now vindicated
because of his faithfulness to the will and plan of God throughout his
life. Finally, the fact that the prince of this world is condemned shows us
that Christ is the Victor not the world, nor evil, nor death, nor sin.  The
Holy Spirit will comfort us with this revelation and help us remember that
Christ is ever faithful to his promises. Amen.

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