Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Ave Maria!

Fourth Sunday after Easter--18 May AD 2014

“When He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will teach you all truth.”[1]

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

    The Gospels read this week, last week, and next week are all taken from Saint John’s sixteenth chapter, which narrates the Last Supper.  In them, our Lord was explaining to the Apostles the things that were to come in the fifty days following His Resurrection.  Last week we heard about His Ascension into heaven, today about the descent of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost, and next Sunday back to the Ascension again as we prepare to celebrate that glorious even on Ascension Thursday.

    In the eternal scheme of things, it sees as though this Mass were composed for the very era of the Church in which we live.  The theme of these readings is “truth,” and there is probably no aspect of the Catholic Faith that has taken a bigger beating during the past century or so than truth.  Altogether too many Christians, even including Catholics, have fallen into the error that there is no such thing as objective truth.  They fall into the error of our age that all truth is subjective—that each one of us may hold an opinion, and that each person’s opinion is no better or worse than the next person’s.

    To the modernist, truth is replaced by “dialogue,” sometimes reaching a consensus of the parties to the dialogue;  sometimes not;  but always useful if it “keeps the conversation going.”  The object of this dialogue is not in determining objective truth, but rather, in generating good will and warm fuzzy feelings.  The “warm fuzzies” remain, even though the participants in the dialogue may change, as well as the opinions they bring to the “conversation.”

    But the Gospel says otherwise!  Today we hear our Lord identify the Holy Ghost as the “Spirit of Truth,”  and tell us that “He will teach [us] all truth.”  Not only is there an objective truth in matters of religion, but God Himself, the Holy Ghost, will teach it to us.  And this truth will not be subject to the continuous sifting and shifting that occurs when a constantly changing group of mere human beings is “dialoguing” about it.  Religious truth comes down “from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration.  For of his own will hath he begotten us by the word of truth.”[2]

    A God who is changeable would be less than God, for He would be less than perfect—“change” in God would suggest that He is capable of becoming more or less than He is at a given moment of time—either that He has room for improvement, or that He may become less than perfect.  It would also suggest that God is subject to the vicissitudes of time, rather than being the Creator of time and space.  But, if the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of Truth, then truth comes from an unchanging source.

    Understand, please, that this is different from the finding of truths in the natural sciences—those disciplines are continuously looking for facts in the world around them, and continuously shaping theories to best explain the latest facts.  In those disciplines, truth is continuously being uncovered.  But even in physics, chemistry, and history there are objective truths even if man never fully uncovers them.  These objective truths exist in God’s knowledge, even if He leaves mankind to its own devices to uncover these truths.

    Now, most people are happy to know the truth on general principle.  But our Lord is saying that three specific things will flow from the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Truth.  The wording in the Gospel is a little archaic, but understandable with a little thought:

    The Gospel says that the Holy Ghost will “convince the world of sin, and of justice, and of judgment.”[3]  Some translations use the word “convict” rather than “convince.”  It might be better to use the word “demonstrate.”  The Holy Ghost will demonstrate that the world is in sin because it refuses to believe in Jesus Christ.  The Holy Ghost will demonstrate justice to the world, for Jesus Christ has been taken up to the bosom of the Father where He reigns in the glory He so justly merited.  And finally, the Holy Ghost will demonstrate the judgment that is in store for those who refuse to follow Christ and choose, instead, to follow Satan, who is already judged and condemned.

    There are four things that we should take away with us from this Mass and its readings:

        ·          First that we must avoid the world’s sin of disbelief in Jesus Christ—and, that through our good example, we must strive to bring the world to belief in Him.

        ·           Second we must participate in God’s justice by giving glory to His Son Jesus Christ—and to His Blessed Mother and all those associated with Him in Heaven.

        ·           Third that we must carefully avoid the eternal judgment that falls to all who choose Satan over Jesus Christ.

        ·           Finally, let us be vigilant in the objective truth of our Catholic Faith.  We can know that truth because it is eternally unchanging, founded on the Rock that is Jesus Christ, and not cast in the Jell-O of “dialogue,” and good will, and warm fuzzy feelings.

    Truth “is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration.”


[2]   Epistle:  James i: 1721

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