He Does Not Ration His Gift Of The Spirit
“… The one whom God sent …”
I can hear in this passage the response to a genuine, profound human need—that of knowing who can be believed. So many television shows are based on this premise. With such a plethora of mystery and courtroom dramas on television, it’s hard to believe that new programs based on the same basic plots can make it. Yet they do. What’s even more fascinating is that they hold our attention. Why? Because of this deep need—perhaps obsession—to know who is telling the truth. Whose testimony is true?
That is what’s happening in this passage from John. It seems to form the conclusion to a disagreement between John the Baptist’s “camp” and “a Jew” regarding ceremonial washing. John realizes that the Person of Jesus is at the heart of the disagreement. What he hears in the disagreement is an underlying need to know if Jesus can be believed—is he telling the truth?
Through the gift of the Spirit, it has been revealed to John that Jesus has been sent by God. Unlike others, he alone can communicate about God from what he “has seen and heard.” John is a model of one who has received the gift of the Spirit, which is not rationed. He communicates the truth about Jesus, who has been sent from above and is, therefore, able to reveal the intimate relationship shared with his Father. By accepting the revelation of the Spirit, John “certifies that God is trustworthy.” By this faith, John stakes his life on this truth to the point of dying to defend it.
Have I accepted Jesus’ testimony? Today’s Gospel seems to say that this is the key to the discipleship that John models and in which I can participate. I too can be sent by God and speak his words. But that depends on my acceptance of Jesus’ testimony, which leads to a certification that “God is trustworthy.”
Father, you are the One who sent your son, Jesus, into our world. We have just celebrated Easter and commemorated the greatest testimony you gave to your Son—his resurrection. Like the apostles, I don’t understand everything you have revealed. Pour out the gift of the Spirit upon me as you have promised—without ration. Thus may I begin to testify to you by my life that I am your Son’s disciple. Amen.
“He does not ration his gift of the Spirit.”
Daughters of Saint Paul. (2011). Easter Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 28–29). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.