“When He, the
Spirit of Truth, is come, He will teach you all truth.”
Sunday Mass Text
Sunday Mass Text -
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.”
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
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
The Gospel says that the Holy Ghost
will “convince the world of sin, and of justice, and of
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