Acts 17:15, 22 - 18:1 / John 16:12-15
Jesus speaks more about the Spirit: “The Spirit will guide you.”
A young Hindu and a Christian seminarian were attending the same week-long seminar on the Sermon on the Mount. In the course of the week, the two young people became good friends. At one point the young Hindu confided to the seminarian that he had problems with Jesus’ sermon. He knew how much it had influenced Gandhi, and he wanted to live his life by it. But he feared it was too lofty an ethic for ordinary people to live by. Toward the end of the seminar, however, the Hindu gained new insight into his problem. The ethic was indeed lofty, but he had forgotten about Jesus’ promise. The Holy Spirit will not only teach the people the value of the ethic but also empower them to follow it.****
How open are we to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and help? “Where the human spirit fails, the Holy Spirit fills.” Anonymous
Empiricism is a philosophical theory that all knowledge is based on experience derived from the senses. It means that as long as we can touch it, see it, hear it, smell it or taste it, then we can know it or find out more about it. Anything outside of the senses are not to be discussed as they don't appeal to the senses and hence, nothing can be known about it and no experience can be gained from it. So it can be said that empiricism does not take into account the "sixth sense" or "intuition" as it cannot be measured or quantified. How empiricism handles the question of faith depends on how much of it is considered acceptable.
In the 1st reading, when Paul stood before the whole Council of Areopagus and made the speech, what he said was acceptable to them until he talked about God raising a man from the dead. At this mention of raising from the dead, some of them burst out laughing, while others seem to be interested in that.
As much as we profess that we believe in the Resurrection of Christ, yet we too may not really understand what it is truly about. We may not laugh at it but we have our questions that we are still search for the answers. There may be much material on it but we will have to let the Spirit of truth lead us to a deeper understanding of the mystery of our faith.
What we cannot understand, let us not discard or reject or laugh at it. The time may come when the Spirit of truth will lead us to a leap of faith and then we will be enlightened.
Wednesday of 6th Week of Easter
THE SPIRIT OF THE TRUTH GOD DWELLING AMONG US
The apostles should not be sad because Jesus leaves them. Their faith will become deeper and more spiritual when Jesus is no longer physically present. The Holy Spirit of truth will continue with them the mission of Jesus. This Spirit of truth will give them no new message, but he will guide the apostles and the Church to deepen their understanding of the life and the message of Jesus and to confront these constantly with the events and problems of the times. And thus, lead the Church forward. St. Paul in Athens gives us an example of an apostle and missionary who tries to take the pagan religion of the Athenians as a starting point and to spiritualize it by stripping it from materialism and formalism.
Lord God, our Father, you are not far away from any of us, for in you. we live and move and exist and you live in us through your Holy Spirit. Be indeed with us Lord, send us your Holy Spirit of truth and through him deepen our understanding of the life and message of your Son, that we may accept the full truth and live with it consistently. We ask you this through Christ, our Lord.
If we surmise correctly, Paul put a good deal of thought into his first presentation of the faith in the Areopagus at Athens. It differs considerably from the customary Pauline apologetic, and we can only regret that it did not meet with a great measure of success, as the author of Acts of the Apostles admits. While visiting the shrines to the various Greek deities, Paul comes upon one dedicated to a God Unknown. He seizes the moment and makes an impassioned plea for the God of Israel and the Christ. He assures his hearers that this is the true God, the one in whom “we live and move and have our being.” The turning point in Paul’s apologetic presentation occurs when he mentions Christ’s resurrection from the dead. This was an idea that was repulsive to a sophisticated Greek audience. He is met by sneers and an unwillingness to hear more at that time. Only a few converts were made. Worthy of note is the fact that Paul’s presentation centered almost wholly on the God of the Old Testament. There is only a single reference to Christ, not as Son of God or Messiah but simply as the man raised from the dead and appointed judge of the world. Paul’s words were carefully selected to appeal to the Hellenists, with none of the usual apologetic surrounding Christ’s life and mission. The Gospel today reminds us that the Spirit was to bring enlightenment after Christ’s departure. There are many ways in which the Spirit has enlightened the church since the dawn of Christianity. The mystery of the incarnation and redemption has unfolded for us through the teaching of countless fathers and doctors of the church. The theological enterprise has been the source of untold good. Paul selected the way in which he felt the faith could best be presented. It was not a great success. We have the opportunity to draw on the wisdom of the ages. Sometimes our efforts are blessed with remarkable success; other times not. Some occasions call for new approaches; others, for those which are more traditional. In any case it is always the one risen Christ who remains at the center of our efforts.
Points to Ponder
Christ as the wisdom of God
We are God’s offspring
The resurrection of Christ: a core belief
– Lord Jesus, when we lack words to speak to the Father, let the Holy Spirit put the right prayers in our hearts and in our lips, we pray:
– Lord Jesus, that men and women in our media may listen to the Holy Spirit to tell the full and whole truth, we pray:
– Lord Jesus, that the Holy Spirit may inspire artists to make us admire the greatness of God’s creation, we pray:
Prayer over the Gifts
God, Lord of heaven and earth, you give us life and breath and have made us your sons and daughters through our brother, Jesus Christ. Give your Son to us now in this Eucharist. Through him and his Spirit make your home among us, your people, and mold us into a community of faith and love, that we may build up your kingdom and praise you, forever and ever.
Prayer after Communion
Lord our God, you have reassured us again in this Eucharistic celebration that you are with us through your Son, Jesus Christ. May his Spirit of truth guide us to face the truth in all its consequences – the truth about your Son and his Gospel, that we may live his life more deeply, and the truth about ourselves, that we are but pale images and poor witnesses of him who is our Lord forever.
May the Spirit of truth come and guide us to all truth, about ourselves, in our mutual relations, concerning what is going on in our world. May God give our world this Spirit and bless us, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.