The Holy Spirit & Understanding
“… it is better for you that I go.”
Jesus seems to leave his disciples in the lurch when he tells them, “… it is better for you that I go.” They wonder why after leaving everything to answer his call to “come and follow me,” he is now saying, “you cannot come.” Earlier Peter had asked: “Master, where are you going?” Jesus assured Peter by saying, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me” (Jn 14:1). Thomas pushed the question a little further. He reminded Jesus that they didn’t know where he was going. How could they know the way? This question prompted Jesus’ wonderful self-definition: “I am the way and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6). In chapter 16 of John’s Gospel the disciples are no longer asking Jesus where he is going or why he must go. Grief has filled their hearts.
There will be times in our life of faith when Jesus seems to disappear and nothing makes sense. Perhaps these are times when our understanding of God is being purified. Our longing for God increases as we descend into this unknowing. Our love of God is growing beyond our limited understanding of God’s ways. We enter a trial of trust only because God has great trust in us. The disciples dreamed big dreams. They hoped to sit at the right and left of Jesus when he entered his kingdom. They had to let go of their image of the Messiah, for Jesus’ promise is so much bigger than they could imagine. The Spirit, the love of the Father and the Son, will reveal it to them in the depths of their being.
In the Divine Comedy, when Dante enters heaven, Saint John the Apostle asks him whom he loves and why. The Spirit helps us refine our answer, proving the world wrong about sin, about justice, about condemnation, by revealing the truth of who we are and the truth of God’s great love.
Send us your Spirit, Lord. You do not leave us alone; your Spirit abides with us and in us. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for being my companion and healer during my pilgrimage of life. Bring your light into the night of my soul, and breathe your life anew in me every day.
Come, Holy Spirit!
Daughters of Saint Paul. (2011). Easter Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 96–97). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.