Sundays Gospel from John contains one of
Jesus most overlooked, yet most important scriptural statements (Jn 15: 26-27; 16:
I have much more to tell you, He informs His
disciples during the Last Supper, but you cannot bear it now. When He comes, the
Spirit of truth, He will guide you in all truth.
Its far easier being a disciple of the historical Jesus
than a disciple of the risen Jesus. If we follow the historical Jesus, we simply have to
collect everything He said, codify and circulate His statements, then spend the rest of
our lives trying to carry out what they teach.
But we, like our sacred authors, follow the risen Jesus, not
the historical Jesus. The risen Jesus not only is alive among us, but also, as we discover
in Christian Scriptures 101, Hes constantly opening doors and asking us to go down
roads which didnt even exist when He walked the earth. Thats what Johns
Jesus is talking about when He tells His followers on the night before He dies that
theres still much more out there they have yet to learn.
If our next question is, How do we find out the much
more Jesus wants us to know? the biblical answer is, The Holy Spirit.
He will declare to you the things that are
coming, Jesus promises. He will glorify me, because He will take from what is
mine and declare it to you.
This is why the Holy Spirit quickly became the most important
force in early Christianity. Only the Spirit could size up what was going on in the
community and let its members know how the risen Jesus expected them to react to the
unique circumstances in which they are living.
Paul believes we cant even proclaim Jesus is
God! without the Spirits help (I Cor 12: 3-7, 12-13). But the Spirits
influence doesnt stop there. It not only molds us into the body of Christ, but also
distributes the gifts which help that body function and grow. We cant be the risen
Christs body without the Spirit.
But then, going deeper into his reflection, Paul reminds his
Corinthian community, To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given
for some benefit. He believes that, unless each person uses the gifts the
Spirits given him or her, the community isnt the complete body of Christ.
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one
body, he writes, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were
all given to drink of one Spirit.
Wind and fire
If the Spirit is essential for surfacing the risen
Jesus mentality and forming us into the body of Christ, why is the Spirit the
Trinitys least utilized member? We find out by listening carefully to the first
reading (Acts 2: 1-11).
Luke believes the Holy Spirit never enters our lives in a
peaceful, secure way. Notice the three disturbing phenomena which accompany the
Spirits arrival in the upper room on that first Pentecost after Jesus
Suddenly, Luke reports, there came from the
sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one
Noise, wind and fire are elements which normally are very
destructive. Yet, in this case, theyre elements which accompany the arrival of the
force that opens up the will of the risen Jesus for the community.
The Holy Spirit always has been a threat to those
institutions and people in the Church that offer us peace, tranquility and complete
certitude, those institutions and people guaranteeing that we already know everything
Jesus wants us to do. What for them is simply a destructive disruption is, for the body of
Christ, a sign of the Spirits presence.