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The Spirit of Truth

First Reading: Acts 17:15, 22—18:1

After Paul’s escorts had taken him to Athens,
they came away with instructions for Silas and Timothy
to join him as soon as possible.

Then Paul stood up at the Areopagus and said:
“You Athenians, I see that in every respect
you are very religious.
For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines,
I even discovered an altar inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God.’
What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you.
The God who made the world and all that is in it,
the Lord of heaven and earth,
does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands,
nor is he served by human hands because he needs anything.
Rather it is he who gives to everyone life and breath and everything.
He made from one the whole human race
to dwell on the entire surface of the earth,
and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions,
so that people might seek God,
even perhaps grope for him and find him,
though indeed he is not far from any one of us.
For ‘In him we live and move and have our being,’
as even some of your poets have said,
‘For we too are his offspring.’
Since therefore we are the offspring of God,
we ought not to think that the divinity is like an image
fashioned from gold, silver, or stone by human art and imagination.
God has overlooked the times of ignorance,
but now he demands that all people everywhere repent
because he has established a day on which he will ‘judge the world
with justice’ through a man he has appointed,
and he has provided confirmation for all
by raising him from the dead.”

When they heard about resurrection of the dead,
some began to scoff, but others said,
“We should like to hear you on this some other time.”
And so Paul left them.
But some did join him, and became believers.
Among them were Dionysius,
a member of the Court of the Areopagus,
a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

After this he left Athens and went to Corinth.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 148:1-2, 11-12, 13, 14

R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights.
Praise him, all you his angels;
praise him, all you his hosts.
R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Let the kings of the earth and all peoples,
the princes and all the judges of the earth,
Young men too, and maidens,
old men and boys.
R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
His majesty is above earth and heaven.
R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
He has lifted up the horn of his people;
Be this his praise from all his faithful ones,
from the children of Israel, the people close to him.
Alleluia.
R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Gospel: 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 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.”

NAB

may 4

“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.”  

Wouldn’t you give anything to know exactly what it was Jesus wanted to tell His friends while on earth? I know I would. The unfathomable riches of the knowledge of God, His plan for the future of the world, everything about Heaven and Hell. It must have been hard for Him to hold back. But He knew it was best for them; He knew His friends, though sincere, were still immature followers. They were still babies in need of milk, not meat. And I know that despite my arrogance that dares to delve into the mysteries of God, I’m really only ready for the same.

It was goodness and wisdom, not stinginess, that kept Jesus from sharing everything He knew with His disciples during His three years with them. He knew that the Holy Spirit would come upon them, after His resurrection. He knew that they would never be alone, that the Spirit would guide them to all truth. And the same is true for us.

No matter how attractive the idea is of knowing God’s plan for our lives and for the world, the reality is that we aren’t ready for it. Have you ever looked back and realized that you never would have done something had you known how hard it would be, and felt grateful that you didn’t know when you set out to do it? Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.

Yet often we think that if we could only see into the future a few years, or if we could only know what the consequences of the decision before us would be, that we would be able to follow the Lord better. (And maybe we’d be safer, happier, etc . . . .) But the truth is we have everything we need as it is.

We have not been left alone any more than the disciples were. We too have fellowship with the Holy Spirit who speaks to us and leads us. If we are faithful to stop and listen for Him every day, we will surely recognize His presence. There will always be things that aren’t given for us to know, but us having all the answers was never why God became Incarnate. He became Incarnate to prove to us that we are never alone. And that’s enough for today.

Sit in silence with the Holy Spirit and invite Him to lead you today.

photo credit

Shannon Evans is a Protestant missionary turned Catholic convert who lived to tell the tale. An adoptive and biological mom of two boys, she enjoys hosing mud off children, scrubbing sticky furniture, and rushing to the ER to have nails extracted from small intestines. You can find out more about her here.

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