As part of Catholic Education Week, May 23-27, Archbishop Pettipas offered this Gospel reflection, meditating on the way we share the Faith with the next generation.
Jesus said “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
I’m sure that any of us who are parents or teachers have had the experience of trying the answer the many questions that inquisitive young children can put to us. When we know the children well, we may know that the question they’re asking is a very good one, but we may also be certain that the generally accepted answer would be beyond their understanding, causing more confusion than enlightenment. We want to give them an answer that the child can understand, and may even inspire the child.
I can still remember the occasion – I may have been 7 or 8 years old at the time – when I asked my mother, “Mom. Where did I come from?” As I recall, she showed no hesitation at all in giving me the answer. She told me, in these or similar words: “You came from God. God entrusted you to your father and me, and told us to do our best in taking care of you and raising you. A day will come when God will ask us how we did in raising you, because you really belong to Him.” I remember that this answer satisfied my curiosity, for then and for many years after. I came from God, and I belong to God. I’m sort of on loan to my parents.
In this Gospel, Jesus is at supper with his apostles, and they have many questions about what he’s telling them—who He is, that He will suffer and die, that the bread they are eating and the wine they drink will become his very self. And in their sharing in it, they will become members of His body. Pretty heavy stuff, I dare say. In the midst of this, he tells them that while this may seem incomprehensible now, the Holy Spirit will come upon them, and they will come to live these mysteries, even if they are still hard to understand.
Our faith is full of mysteries – our life is full of mystery. We cannot always understand these, but the gifts of the Holy Spirit instill in us the wisdom and courage needed to live out these truths. It is because all truth is difficult for our minds to grasp, that we must always seek the truth, not to settle for partial truth or half-truths. When we submit our heart and mind to the Holy Spirit, we grow in the truth. I have found that as I age and study more about the world around me, that I grow in acknowledging how much I don’t know. I must always seek the ways of the Lord, and the truths that are found in the Godhead alone.
In a short while, we will celebrate the solemnity of Pentecost, the event in the early Church of Jerusalem when the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles. This began a whole new era in the Christian community’s development. The Church has a popular prayer that asks the Holy Spirit to come upon us, with its many gifts. Let us conclude with this prayer:
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and enkindle in us the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit, and we shall be recreated. And you will renew the face of the earth. Let us pray. O God, you taught the hearts of your faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit. Grant that by this same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise, and evermore rejoice in his holy consolations. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.