(A commentary on John 16: 12-15)
Jesus said to his disciples: “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason, I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:12-15)
The disciples are not yet fully aware of all that will occur or how drastically their lives are about to change. Jesus’ words to them probably sound like a riddle they can’t quite solve.
Even with all the unpleasant things they are hearing, Jesus speaks assurance to them promising that though difficulties are coming their way, they will not be alone and they will be equipped to live into the calling and mission they were invited to when Jesus first said “Come. Follow Me.”
We know from the feast of Pentecost that the disciples, infused with the power of the Holy Spirit, went on – even beyond their human expectations, to bear witness to Christ and build the church we know today.
What does all of this mean for you and me? A lot!
We begin our understanding by recognizing that in our deepest self, we desire God. St. Augustine probably says this more beautifully than anyone else. He says, “You have made us, O God, for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
What Augustine is saying is that all through our life, with every choice we make, with every relationship we develop, with every dream that we dream, what is driving us forward is our desire to possess the goodness, the power, the presence of God. Augustine believes that every good thing we see, every person that we love, every dream that attracts us is only a reflection of the ultimate goodness that is God. Therefore, whether we are aware of it or not, we are always searching, always seeking, always wanting God.
Now St. Thomas Aquinas makes the same point from a different angle. He argues that because we were made for God, we are necessarily directed towards God. We are hard wired, if you will, to always choose goodness, because every good thing is a reflection of God.
Therefore, the challenge for us is not to desire God. In truth we can desire nothing else. We are hardwired to reach out always for what we see as good. The challenge for us is to see correctly, to reach out not for a false good but for a genuine one, to reach out for a true good rather than one that is illusionary.
This is why it is so important in today’s Gospel that Jesus sends us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth, the one who will guide us in all truth. It is the role of the spirit to clarify for us what is genuine goodness and what is an illusion.
The Holy Spirit is in us and awaits us. He awaits us so that our lives can be guided to both claim and to do the genuine good for which we were made.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and guide me in your way of life, truth, and goodness. Free me from ignorance of your truth, and from deception and moral blindness caused by sinful pride and the refusal to believe and obey your word of truth. May I love you with all of my heart, mind, and strength, and seek to please you in all things.”
Jesus told his disciples that he would send them the Spirit of truth who will guide you into all the truth ..and declare to you the things that are to come (John 16:13). Jesus knew that his disciples could not fully understand on their own everything he had taught and revealed to them while he was physically present with them. He knew that they would need the ongoing guidance and help of the Holy Spirit after he returned to his Father in heaven. That is why he assured them that the Holy Spirit would take what he had spoken to them and guide them into a fuller understanding of God’s wisdom, power, and glory he wished to share with them so they could live in the joy and freedom of his love and truth.