Acts 17:15, 22–18:1; John 16:12-15
One of man’s great quests is the pursuit of truth. All of us seek the truth. We seek the assurance that what we know is really true. We are opposed to falsehood and deceit. We have no confidence in those who would deceive us by hiding or withholding the truth. We seek the truth in many ways. Students seek the truth in their studies. They want to learn and they seek the truth by the questions that they ask. Lawyers seek the truth in questions pertaining to the law. They want to know the true facts so that they can apply the law properly to the case. Theologians seek the truth about God and his relationship to his creation. They want to learn more about God so that all of us can know God better and follow him more closely.
In today’s gospel reading Jesus speaks to his disciples and to us about the pursuit of truth. He refers to the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of truth. He tells us that the Holy Spirit can guide us to all truth, and he promises the disciples that the Holy Spirit will soon come to them. After the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, the disciples were changed people. They were strengthened and emboldened to preach about Jesus and his message without fear. Throughout the remainder of their lives they continued their work and they depended upon and had recourse to the Holy Spirit. We too have been strengthened by the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Confirmation. And we can learn from the disciples. We can learn to follow their example and have recourse to the Holy Spirit to help us to continue our work in our daily lives.
In this gospel reading, Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit to the disciples. Their faith prepared the disciples to receive the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. The virtue of faith enabled the disciples to believe what Jesus taught because they believed that he really was who he claimed to be. Even though they didn’t completely understand everything that Jesus taught, they believed what he said because they recognized that he had the authority to say it. In the same way we can all use our faith to receive the help of the Holy Spirit. It will enable us to ask for and receive that help Strengthened by our faith and inspired by the example of the disciples, let us confidently seek the help of the Holy Spirit in our needs.
By Tom Bannantine