- John 16:12-15
- The Spirit of Truth
Bits and Pieces, (July, 1991) reported that once, when a stubborn disputer seemed unconvinced, Lincoln said, “Well, let’s see how many legs has a cow?” “Four, of course,” came the reply disgustedly. “That’s right,” agreed Lincoln. “Now suppose you call the cow’s tail a leg; how many legs would the cow have?” “Why, five, of course,” was the confident reply. “Now, that’s where you’re wrong,” said Lincoln. “Calling a cow’s tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”
In today’s gospel reading, Jesus tells His disciples about the significant and special role of the Holy Spirit in the Church after the Ascension. That is, that the Holy Spirit of truth will guide them to all truth. Jesus does not specify that the truth revealed is limited to purely religious matters. In relation to this, 365 Days with the Lord 2007 asked: would it be too fanciful to think that the Spirit is the one guiding anybody in search of any type of truth? If so, would it not be the Spirit who guides a scientist to discover a new medicine, a better source of energy, a deeper understanding of the human mind? Would it not be the Spirit who guides the musician, the artist, the storyteller? And, on a more modest level, would it not be the Spirit who helps me pass an exam, find the money for next month’s rent, discern what kind of career would best fit me and serve the world? No doubt, the action of the Spirit is far, far more extensive than we can even begin to imagine.
And the Holy Spirit is not a professor who teaches new things but He is like a tutor who will explain the things of Jesus Christ Himself. A priest in his homily said that the Holy Spirit does not speak on His own authority, just as Jesus on His part was not teaching His own doctrine but merely revealing the Father and sharing the Father’s glory. It is noteworthy that the Spirit does not have a specific or separate doctrine to teach. The Spirit comes only to remind the disciples of the Father’s revelation in Jesus and to ensure a proper understanding of this revelation.
Pope Paul VI in his Dominum et Vivificantem, says: “The Spirit will help people understand the correct meaning of the content of Christ’s message; He will ensure the continuity and identity of understanding….the same truth which the Apostles heard from their Master.” The Spirit comes only to remind the disciples of the Father’s revelation in Jesus and to ensure a proper understanding of this revelation.
At the end, somebody had said that as Christians we must be on guard against the spirit of insincerity. No one who lives outside the truth can claim to be a disciple of Christ. Little falsehoods in our lives are utterly destructive to the action of the “Spirit of Truth” in our souls. Our Savior never spoke out so strongly against anything as he did against the pretended righteousness of the leaders of his time. How many things have I done recently just to be praised by others? How many good things have I done which are known to God alone? Am I capable of standing firm to my convictions in the face of misunderstanding or ridicule?