Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Lectionary: 291

When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.

Christian mystics throughout the centuries have experienced, celebrated and taught about the "indwelling of the Holy Trinity." Though the doctrine of the Trinity seemed incomprehensible, confusing and thoroughly uninteresting to most people, and especially to those entrusted with teaching it, mystical writers thrilled at its beauty.

Only with the twentieth century effort to restore the Mass to its original splendor has the Holy Trinity begun to glimmer in more minds and hearts. Once again we realize the Holy Spirit is gathering us to the church and the altar; once again we enter into communion with Jesus and one another as we eat his flesh and drink his blood; once again we enter the presence of God the Father and, in persona Christi, offer our sacrifice to Him. In the Mass we find ourselves swept out of the mundane by the Holy Spirit and our Savior Jesus who joyfully, graciously introduce us to the Father.

In today's gospel Jesus promises to send the Advocate from the Father; the Advocate is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father. Advocate is a juridical word; advocates speak to the judge and the jury on behalf of their clients. In Jesus' teaching the Holy Spirit advocates to the Father for us; and to us, for Jesus. If we believe in Jesus it's because we have accepted the Advocate's assurances. If we are saved it's because the Father has accepted the advocacy of the Holy Spirit and of Jesus on our behalf.

We know this as we attend our liturgies. I ask myself, "How did I come to be here?" and I cannot explain it. Was this my idea? Do I deserve credit for entering and remaining with the Church all these years? Has my behavior earned such a reward? I don't think so! Not even close!

This is the work of the Father who sees with the human eyes of Jesus and overlooks my faults in the Light of the Holy Spirit. 

Jesus goes on to say, "And you also testify..." Again, was this my initiative? Did I decide to become a Christian, a Catholic or a priest? No, I only accepted what was given to me, including the pleasant responsibilities of testimony.

The mystics have been telling us this all along but Christians of the 21st century comprehend it only through our practice of worship. We permit ourselves to be swept into the Sacred Presence; we allow our lungs and tongues to sing God's praises; we lift up our heads to see the signs and hear the words; we open hungry mouths to be fed and dry throats to be slaked by the Gift of God.

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.