Wednesday, May 24, 2017
1) Opening prayer
Lord God, our Father,
you are not far away from any of us,
for in you we live and move and exist
and you live in us
through your Holy Spirit.
Be indeed with us, Lord,
send us your Holy Spirit of truth
and through him deepen our understanding
of the life and message of your Son,
that we may accept the full truth
and live by it consistently.
We ask you this through Christ our Lord.
2) Gospel Reading - John 16,12-15
Jesus said to his disciples: "I still have many things to say to you but they would be too much for you to bear now. However, when the Spirit of truth comes he will lead you to the complete truth, since he will not be speaking of his own accord, but will say only what he has been told; and he will reveal to you the things to come. He will glorify me, since all he reveals to you will be taken from what is mine. Everything the Father has is mine; that is why I said: all he reveals to you will be taken from what is mine."
• In these weeks of Easter Time, the Gospels of each day are almost always taken from chapters 12 to 17 of the Gospel of John. That reveals something regarding the origin and the destination of these chapters. They show not only what happened before the Passion and the death of Jesus, but also and above all, the living out of faith of the first communities after the resurrection. They express the Paschal faith which animated them.
• John 16, 12: I still have many things to say to you. The Gospel today begins with this phrase: “I still have many things to say to you but they would be too much for you to bear now”. In these words of Jesus there are two things: the environment of the farewell, which characterized the Last Supper, and the concern of Jesus, the older brother, for his younger brothers, who within a brief time will remain without his presence. The time left was very short. Within a short time, Jesus will be arrested. The work begun was not yet complete. The disciples were just at the beginning of their apprenticeship. Three years are a very short time to change life and to begin to live and to think in a new image of God. Their formation was not yet finished. Much was still lacking and Jesus had still many things to teach them and to transmit to them, but he knows his disciples. They are not among the most intelligent. They would not be capable to know now all the consequences and implications of discipleship. They would become discouraged. They would not be able to bear this.
• John 16, 13-15: The Holy Spirit will come to their help. “However, when the Spirit of truth comes, he will lead you to the complete truth, since he will not be speaking of his own accord, but will say only what he has been told; and he will reveal to you the things to come. He will glorify me, since all he reveals to you will be taken from what is mine”. This affirmation of Jesus shows the experience of the first communities. In the measure in which they sought to imitate Jesus, trying to interpret and apply his Word to the various circumstances of their life, they experienced the presence and the light of the Spirit. And this happens even today in the communities which try to incarnate the Word of Jesus in their life. The root of this experience is the words of Jesus: “Everything the Father has is mine that is why I said: all he reveals to you will be taken from what is mine”.
• The action of the Holy Spirit in the Gospel of John. John uses many images and symbols to signify the action of the Holy Spirit. Like in creation (Gen 1, 1), the Spirit also descends on Jesus, “in the form of a dove, come from Heaven” (Jn 1, 32). It is the beginning of the new creation! Jesus speaks the words of God and communicates the Sprit without reserve to us (Jn 3, 34). His words are Spirit and Life (Jn 6, 63). When Jesus bids farewell, he said that he would have sent another Paraclete, Consoler, another defender, who will remain with us. It is the Holy Spirit (Jn 14, 16-17). By his Passion, death and Resurrection, Jesus won for us the gift of the Holy Spirit. By Baptism all of us have received this same Spirit of Jesus (Jn 1, 33). When he appeared to the apostles, he breathed on them and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit!” (Jn 20, 22). The Spirit is like the water which springs from within the persons who believe in Jesus (Jn 7, 37-39; 4, 14). The first effect of the action of the Spirit in us is reconciliation: “If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you retain anyone’s sins, they are retained”. (Jn 20, 23). The Spirit which Jesus communicates to us has multiple actions: consoles and spreads (Jn 14, 16), he communicates truth (Jn 14, 17; 16, 13), makes us remember what Jesus taught (Jn 14, 26); will give witness of Jesus (Jo 15, 26); manifests the glory of Jesus (Jn 16, 14); will convince the world concerning sin, justice (Jn 16, 8). The Spirit is given to us so that we can understand the complete meaning of the words of Jesus (Jn 14, 26); 16, 12-13). Encouraged by the Spirit of Jesus we can adore God in any place (Jn 4, 23-24). Here lies the liberty of the Spirit of which Saint Paul speaks: “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Co 3, 17).
4) Personal questions
• How do I live my adherence to Jesus: alone or in community?
• Has my participation in the community led me, sometimes, to experience the light and the force of the Holy Spirit?
5) Concluding Prayer
The name of the Lord is sublime,
his splendour transcends earth and heaven.
For he heightens the strength of his people,
to the praise of all his faithful,
the people close to him. (Ps 148,13-14)