Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Ave Maria!
Fourth Sunday after Easter—20 April AD 2008
“Of His own, [God] has begotten us by the word of truth....”[1]

Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English

    Today’s Gospel is taken from our Lord’s discourse at the last Supper.[2]  He was speaking roughly forty days before He would be gone from the earth.  But He promised that He would not leave His Apostles (nor us) alone in this world.  He promised that He would send the “Paraclete,” the ‘Spirit of truth” to be with us, and to confirm us in the truth.  “Paraclete” is a Greek word that means “advocate”—in modern terms we would call this advocate a “lawyer,” or an “attorney,” or perhaps a “spokesman.”  As I mentioned last week, Jesus had been with His Apostles for two or three years, always knowing the right thing to say to any challenger that might come along.  Jesus would no longer be with them, but this “Spirit of truth” would somehow accompany them, making it unnecessary for them to plan in advance how they would answer those who might arise to dispute them.  Our Lord spoke to a great crowd in Saint Luke’s Gospel:

    I say to you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God.  But he that shall deny me before men, shall be denied before the angels of God....  And when they shall bring you into the synagogues, and to magistrates and powers, be not concerned how or what you shall answer, or what you shall say;  For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what you must say.[3]

    For the most part, we think of the Holy Ghost as a sort of defense attorney.  But today’s Gospel suggests that, as well, He is sometimes a prosecuting attorney.  “He will convict the world of sin, of justice, and of judgment.”  Some of our older biblical translations use the word “convince” instead of “convict” (the Latin word is “árguet”;  the Greek is elenxei—ελεγξει [4]), but it amounts to the same thing, being an archaic English way of saying that the Holy Ghost will present evidence that would convince a jury—in other words to obtain a conviction.

    All of this is done through the “Spirit of truth”—whether it be the defense of the just or the prosecution of the evil.  That is, after all, the nature of truth.  The truth always supports those who follow the will of God—the truth is always at enmity with those who want to contravene the will of God and to have things their own way.

    This is one of the reasons why the Church is so concerned that Catholics have a full knowledge of their Faith.  If one cooperates with the graces of the Holy Ghost, and learns the teachings of God to the best of his ability, he will have a powerful means of spreading good, and a similarly powerful means of resisting the forces of evil.  This takes some effort, of course.  You may have to watch a little less television and do a little more reading.  You may have to pay attention to what you see and hear and read when you attend Holy Mass—which you probably ought to do with greater frequency than you do today.  You will probably have to pray a little more so that the Holy Ghost knows of your interest.

    The lazy Catholic, on the other hand, will be relatively defenseless against evil suggestions made to him.  There are a lot of eloquent salesmen, and politicians, and preachers out there;  handsome men, and well dressed.  Their speech and their writing is polished, sounding both knowledgeable and sincere—perhaps even inspiring.  A man or woman who does not know the Faith, or who has no idea how the Faith can be put into practice, is in grave danger of being misled by the most handsome face, the most melodious voice, or the most sincere smile—no matter how far from goodness and truth the person delivering the message may be.  The Holy Ghost does not work magic—in the vast majority of cases, things like wisdom, understanding and knowledge must be worked for diligently under the grace of His supervision—only rarely are these things miraculously granted to those who have made no effort.

    And sometimes were are required by circumstances to be more than passive listeners.  Sometimes we are required to profess the Faith.  It may be when we are baptized or confirmed or receive Holy Orders, it may be simply because we are at Mass on Sunday or some other day on which the Creed is recited.  But sometimes we are required to profess our Faith under more trying circumstances:  perhaps when we refuse to give up the Faith under persecution;  perhaps when someone seriously urges something blasphemous about our Lord or His Blessed Mother;  perhaps under some other circumstance when we would give serious scandal by saying nothing.  All the more reason for knowing accurately the teachings of our Holy Religion.

    Finally, let us take a look at what Saint James had to say in this morning’s epistle.[5]  The first thing is that he reminds us that God, to whom he refers under the beautiful title, “the Father of Lights” is “without change or shadow of alteration.”  All reality—all truth—is grounded in God.  His Son is the Truth;  His Holy Ghost is the “Spirit of Truth.”  The universe in which we live is nothing less than the expression of God’s word in spiritual and material substance.  While we witness continuous accidental change in the things around us, the relationships between them are perpetually stable in the mind of God, who is “without change or shadow of alteration.”

    What God has chosen to reveal to us about Himself, how He expects to be worshipped, and how He expects His rational creatures to behave, is fixed forever.  There is no “dialectic” and no “dialogue” that can change these things.  No amount of committee meetings, and no amount of consensus reached by the “authentic” and “acting persons” of the world can change reality.  Just as mankind cannot change the pull of gravity by voting on it, it is powerless to change the truths in the mind of God.

    Last of all, James tells us that “Of His own, [God] has begotten us by the word of truth that we might be ... the ‘first fruits of His creatures.’”  God has made us, men and women, to be creatures of the truth, “quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath.”  Notice he says “slow to wrath”—there are times when anger is necessary and even beneficial—not the anger of human pride, of course, but a bit of righteous indignation.  Sometimes we must speak truth to power—sometimes we need that little emotional boost to tell those who would pretend that God has changed and altered Himself to conform to the opinions of the world that they are wrong.  But it must always be after understanding and due consideration, with the help of the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of truth.

God “has begotten us by the word of truth.”


[1]   Epistle: James i: 17-21.

[2]   John xvi: 23-30.

[3]   Luke xii: 8-9, 11-12.

[5]   James i: 17-21.





Dei via est íntegra
Our Lady of the Rosary, 144 North Federal Highway (US#1), Deerfield Beach, Florida 33441  954+428-2428
Authentic  Catholic Mass, Doctrine, and Moral Teaching -- Don't do without them -- 
Don't accept one without the others!