TRINITY SUNDAY – May 26, 2013 – John 16:12-15 – Rev. Emmett H. Carroll, S.J.
TRINITY SUNDAY 2013
May, 26, 2013
Rev. Emmett H. Carroll, S.J.
“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.” Christ speaks to His Apostles at the Last supper, and to you and me. You and I have more to say than listeners are able to bear, either because they lack the capacity to understand, or because it would be too dull for the listener.
Parents have more to say about a multitude of topics than their children can yet bear to hear. Adolescents might speak about TWITTER or the newest Xbox, but parents might neither understand nor care to understand. Teachers could say more; professional people could speak about their practices, but other folk would grasp only a bit of the explanation.
Should you and I wonder or hesitate to believe that we might learn more from Jesus about the life of the triune God? But are we not like the Apostles who, as Jesus said, could not bear it now?
Isaiah thinks of God as teacher of us.
The Lord will give you the bread you need
And the water for which you thirst.
No longer will your Teacher hide himself,
But with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher,
While from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears:
“This is the way; walk in it,”
When you would turn to the right or to the left. (Isaiah 30:20-21)
The Church as a community realizes by the impetus of the Holy Spirit our Lord’s life among us. The Holy Spirit works among us so that we may more fully appreciate Jesus Christ in our circumstances today.
A dramatic problem arises for the Apostles at the Last Supper. Jesus has repeatedly foretold that he will be rejected and killed. “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised” (Luke 9:22). At the Last Supper the hour has arrived: “Now I am leaving the World and going back to the Father” (John 16:28).
Recall that earlier Jesus asked the Twelve whether they, too, wanted to leave him because of his difficult teachings. In response, Peter replied, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). Is Jesus’ death the end of his “words of eternal life”? Here is the dramatic crisis. In speaking for the disciples, Peter recognizes the life-giving power of Jesus’ revelation and of His teaching and miracles and mode of life. Where else can the Apostles find such divine life?
In the Word become flesh, in God become man, in the divine among us—in this we have come to know God. The incarnation has brought believers into a new relation with God and has opened our becoming children of God (John 1:12-13). However, could our knowing God been true only for the single historical moment?
The Holy Spirit makes Jesus present to believers, to the Apostles and to all believers thereafter, even though Jesus is now physically absent. Future believers find in Christ eternal life, because the Holy Spirit effects Jesus existent among them. “Can a mother forget her infant,” asks Isaiah, “be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you” (49:15).
The Holy Spirit links the historical Jesus to the life of the Church after Jesus’ death. Jesus does not orphan His followers. Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will continue to make Himself present to all who value Him. It stuns us to realize that the Holy Spirit accomplishes Jesus with us until His mortal death, and beyond His resurrection, to this day.
Not only does the Holy Spirit make the Lord present to us, but the Holy Spirit also manifests Jesus as teacher and witness. “I have told you this while I am with you,” says Jesus to the Apostles at the Last Supper. “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you” (John 14:25-26; 16:14).The teaching of the Holy Spirit consists in reminding of what Jesus has said.
Furthermore, the Holy Spirit prompts believers to apply the words of Jesus to new events. The Holy Spirit enables past, present, and future to resound to Our Lord’s teaching in always changing circumstances. “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.”
Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!
O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
And our inmost being fill!
On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore
In your sevenfold gift descend.
(Sequence of Pentecost; “Veni Sancte Spiritus”)
The Councils of the Church believe that they act under the influence of the Holy Spirit, and that they advance the teaching of Jesus Christ. The Second Vatican Council employed its opening prayer at each session. In this prayer, Council members prayed to the Holy Spirit, invoking its light and its guidance. Because we believe in a triune God, we believe that the Holy Spirit arouses us to the presence and the teaching of the incarnate Son of God. Amen!