Note: These Sunday & Holy Day Gospel Reflections are written so that mothers may prepare for Holy Mass in advance either as a small group or individually (especially since we are so often necessarily distracted during Mass itself).
Jesus said to his disciples:
There are two Gospel options for today. The first option is the same Gospel from Divine Mercy Sunday, so if you want to read that reflection go here. This reflection will focus on the second option, since I did not already write on it.
John 15:26-27; 16:12-15
"When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father,
the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father,
he will testify to me.
And you also testify,
because you have been with me from the beginning.
"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 from 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."
Happy Birthday, Catholic Church! Are you having cupcakes or cake on Sunday to celebrate? We are!
Usually the Holy Spirit is represented by tongues of fire or a rushing wind. At Pentecost, these were truly how He came to the apostles and Mary, but what about in our lives today? How does He come to us? I think of the Holy Spirit as the hidden part of the Trinity, the one that does not have a concrete title, like Father or Son. This person of the Trinity has always been more of a mystery to me than the others.
After reflecting on this Gospel, however, I now have a tangible metaphor for the Holy Spirit. The first thing I noticed about this week's Gospel were the use of the words "testify," "declare," and “speak” a total of 7 times in this short reading, all referring to ways the Holy Spirit would come. (yes, I am forever an English teacher at heart) Every instance is an example of the Holy Spirit sharing God’s will and Truth with His people through words.
Deep within our souls is where the Holy Spirit resides. We are temples of the Holy Spirit. He speaks to us in the depths of our hearts, the quiet whisper (like a wind) that tells us if we are headed on the right path or not. He is the peace we all seek, the words that testify God's presence in our lives. He is the fire that burns passionately within us when we feel powerfully called to a specific action or belief.
The Holy Spirit, I believe, is all of those inner voices that declare our convictions, and He is also the things we say to others. More particularly, he is when others say (or write) just the perfect thing to lead our soul to deeper holiness, words of comfort or inspiration. You know that has happened to all of us!
To me, the Holy Spirit IS the Word, not the Word made flesh, nor the author of the Word. He simply is the Word, the gift of God's language.
That is what my heart says, anyway. I do not know how theologians have treated this subject and would be interested if anyone more educated than I has any sources to which to point me. Head to the comment box if you do! Otherwise, ponder the living Spirit, the living Word of God.
Holy Spirit, enter most intimately into the depths of my soul. Testify to your goodness, so I may echo those words with my life. Speak to the Truth, so I may live in the will of God. Declare aloud the words of inspiration I need to grow in holiness each day. Enkindle in me the fire of your love. Amen.