PENTECOST (Cycle ABC)

Pentecost readings:
Acts 2:1-11
Psalms 104
1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13 or (Cycle B) Galatians 5:16-25, or (Cycle C) Romans 9:8-17
Gospel of John 20:19-23 or (Cycle B) 15:26-27; 16:12-15 or (Cycle C) 14:15-16, 23b-26

All Scripture passages are from the New American Bible unless designated NJB (New Jerusalem Bible), IBHE (Interlinear Bible Hebrew-English), IBGE (Interlinear Bible Greek-English), or LXX (Greek Septuagint Old Testament translation). CCC designates a citation from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The word LORD or GOD rendered in all capital letters is, in the Hebrew text, God's Divine Name YHWH (Yahweh).

God's divine plan for mankind is revealed in the two Testaments and that is why we reread and relive the events of salvation history contained in the Old and New Testaments in the Church's Liturgy. The Catechism teaches that the Liturgy reveals the unfolding mystery of God's plan as we read the Old Testament in light of the New and the New Testament in light of the Old (CCC 1094-1095).

The Theme of this Sunday's Readings: The Gift of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son
The Old Covenant holy day of obligation known as the Feast of Weeks, Shavuot in Hebrew, or the Feast of Pentecost as it was known in Jesus' time (from the Greek he pentekoste hermea meaning "the fiftieth day"), was a feast established by Yahweh in the covenant formation at Mt. Sinai. In the beginning of the great adventure at the crossroads of salvation history known as the Sinai Covenant, God ordained that Israel was to commemorate seven annual feasts in which the Israelites would relive the themes of judgement, mercy and redemption that were played out in the Exodus experience. Three of the seven annual feats were designated as "pilgrim feasts" in which every man of the covenant must present himself before Yahweh's holy altar of sacrifice. The three "pilgrim feasts" feasts were commanded in Exodus 23:14-17, 34:18-23; Deuteronomy 16:16 and 2 Chronicles 8:13 as the feasts of Unleavened Bread, Weeks/Pentecost, and Shelters/Tabernacles.

According to Leviticus 23, of the seven annual God ordained feasts only the feasts of Firstfruits and Weeks/Pentecost were not given specific dates. The Feast of Firstfruits was to be celebrated on the day after the Sabbath of the holy week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread; it was to always fall on the first day of the week, our Sunday (Lev 23:9-14). Seven full weeks were to be counted from Firstfruits, and on the fiftieth day they were to celebrate the Feast of Weeks/Pentecost, as the ancients counted with no zero-place value (Lev 23:15-16). Therefore, the Feast of Pentecost also fell on the first day of the week, our Sunday. The Feast of Firstfruits in 30 AD was the day Jesus arose from the dead, which Christians continue to celebrate as Easter Sunday, and fifty days later (as the ancients counted without the concept of a zero-place value) was the first Christian Pentecost.

After the Resurrection, Jesus taught the Church for forty days until His Ascension (Acts 1:3). At His Ascension Jesus instructed the Apostles and disciples to return to Jerusalem and to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit: John baptized with water but, not many days from now, you are going to be baptized with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5). The Apostles and the disciples were obedient to Jesus' command. They prayed together as one community for ten days until fifty days after Christ's Resurrection, until the Sunday of the Jewish feast of Pentecost which commemorated the birth of the Old Covenant Church at Mt. Sinai. On the Feast of Pentecost, 30 AD, God the Holy Spirit baptized and indwelled the 120 New Covenant people (Acts 1:15) of God praying in the Upper Room in Jerusalem, giving them the one language of the Gospel of salvation to unite all peoples of the world—undoing the confusion of tongues and the separation of peoples in the judgment of the Tower of Babel (Acts 1:13-15; 2:1-11; Gen 11:1-9).

1st Reading Acts 2:1-11 ~ The Holy Spirit Gives Birth to the Church at Pentecost
1 When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. 2 And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. 3 Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. 5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. 6 At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 They were astounded, and in amazement they asked, "Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans?" 8 Then how does each of us hear them in his own native language? 9 We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travelers from Rome, 11 both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God."

The miracle of Christian Pentecost took place on the Jewish annual Feast of Weeks, also known by its Greek name, "Pentekoste hermea" (fiftieth day), in Jesus' time. This Greek designation for the Feast of Weeks also occurs in Tobit 2:1 and 2 Maccabees 12:32 both written in Greek. It was one of the three annual "pilgrim feasts" where every adult male of the covenant was required to present himself before God's holy altar in Jerusalem (Ex 23:14-17; 34:18-23; Dt 16:16; 2 Chr 8:13). The covenant legislation for keeping this annual pilgrim feast is found several times in the Torah of Moses (see Ex 23:16; 34:12; Lev 23:15-21; Num 28:26-31 and Dt 16:9-12).

Each of the seven annual feasts celebrated the liberation of the Exodus experience and the creation of the nation of Israel. Pentecost was the second harvest festival. The first was the Feast of Firstfruits and the offering of the first of the barley harvest that celebrated the Israelites as the "Firstfruits" of God's covenant people in the Promised Land. The Feast of Weeks/Pentecost came fifty days after Firstfruits and was the offering of the first of the wheat harvest. The Feast of Weeks/Pentecost celebrated the Theophany of God at Mt. Sinai when God made a covenant with the children of Israel that was sealed in sacrifice and the giving of the Law (Ex 19-24). The focus of the feast is confirmed in the 2nd century BC Book of Jubilees that identifies the Feast of Weeks/Pentecost as a covenant renewal ceremony (Jubilees 6:17-21), and the Babylonian Talmud (c. 250 AD) identifies the feast as the "day the Torah was given" to Israel (Babylonian Talmud: Pes., 68b).

According to Leviticus 23, of the seven annual God ordained feasts only the feasts of Firstfruits and Weeks/Pentecost were not given specific dates. The Feast of Firstfruits was to be celebrated on the day after the Sabbath of the holy week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread-always to fall on the first day of the week, our Sunday (Lev 23:9-14). Seven full weeks were to be counted from Firstfruits and on the fiftieth day they were to celebrate the Feast of Weeks/Pentecost, as the ancients counted with no zero-place value (Lev 23:15-16). Therefore, the Feast of Pentecost also fell on the first day of the week, our Sunday. The Feast of Firstfruits in 30 AD was the day Jesus arose from the dead, which Christians continue to celebrate as Easter Sunday, and fifty days later was the first Christian Pentecost.

Later the Pharisees altered the day of Firstfruits to the specific date of Nisan the 16th and therefore also altered the day of Pentecost fifty days later so the two feasts no longer always fell on the first day of the week (Sunday) and could not be associated with the Resurrection of Jesus or the coming of the Holy Spirit to the Christians on Sunday of Pentecost. Flavius Josephus noted this change when he wrote: ... for the festival, which we call Pentecost, did then fall out to be the next day to the Sabbath ... (Antiquities of the Jews, 13.8.4 [252]). The Samaritans and the Jewish sect of the Karaites reject Nisan the 16th as the feast day for Firstfruits. They claim that the divine instructions in Leviticus are clear in the command that the Feast of Firstfruits was always to celebrated within the seven-day feast of Unleavened Bread on the first day of the week, the day after Shabbat HaGadol (the Great Sabbath) of the holy week of Unleavened Bread. It is their belief that the Pharisees changed the date of Firstfruits and the observance of Shabbat HaGadol (the "Great Sabbath" also mentioned in the Gospel of John 19:31). The Karaites and Samaritans are the only Jews who continue to observe Firstfruits on the day after the Sabbath within the seven day celebration of Unleavened Bread.

Ever since the event of Jesus' Ascension (Acts 1:6-11), the 120 members of the New Covenant Church were waiting in prayer together in the Upper Room as Jesus commanded. They gathered together as one family with the Virgin Mary (Acts 1:14-15). They prayed for nine days and on the tenth day it was the Jewish Feast of Pentecost; it was fifty days since the Feast of Firstfruits and fifty days since Jesus' Resurrection. It is for this reason that a novena-a prayer with one intention, lasts for nine days. On the tenth day, fifty days from the Resurrection, Jesus sent the gift of the Father that He had promised (Acts 1:4-5; Lk 24:49; Jn 14:26; 15:26; 16:7-8, 23): And suddenly there came from the sky a noise [sound] like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were (Acts 2:2). Notice that it is the sound that fills the house not the wind. The sound was "like" the sound of a driving wind. This description of the loudness of the sound recalls the Theophany at Mt. Sinai: On the morning of the third day there were peals of thunder and lightning and a heavy cloud over the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that the people in the camp trembled (Ex 19:16-19). The comparison between the sound and a driving wind also recalls the Creation event when a great "wind" hovered over the waters of Creation (Gen 1:1-2).

Acts 2:3 Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. In this event the prophecy of St. John the Baptist in Matthew 3:11 is fulfilled when he told the people: I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. The event is also the fulfillment of the prophecy by the 6th century BC prophet Ezekiel: I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts. I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statues, careful to observe my decrees (Ez 36:26-27). And it is the fulfillment of the promise Jesus made to Nicodemus: Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I told you, 'You must be born from above' (Jn 3:5-7).

Fire is a repeated symbol of Theophany in Scripture. For example:

Also see Ex 14:24; Dt 4:24, 33, 36; 5:4; 10:4; 2 Kng 2:10-12; Ps 7:9/13 LXX and Ps 28/29:7 LXX: The voice of the Lord flashes forth in flames of fire.

Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. The Holy Spirit manifests Himself by indwelling each member of the assembled community in the Upper Room and giving them the gift of speech to preach the Gospel message of salvation (also see Mk 16:17; Acts 10:45; 19:6; 1 Cor chapters 12-14).

Acts 2:5-11 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. 6 At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 They were astounded, and in amazement they asked, "Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans?" 8 Then how does each of us hear them in his own native language? 9 We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travelers from Rome, 11 both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God."
Pentecost was a pilgrim feast and devout Jews from across the Roman Empire made the journey to the Temple in Jerusalem-it was the one place on earth where sacrifices and worship could be offered to the God of Israel (the Synagogue offered prayer, praise and teaching of Scripture).

In the crowd there were not only Jews but Gentile converts. The Jewish historian/priest Flavius Josephus (37-100 AD) testified that large crowds of Jews from across the Roman world came to Jerusalem at Pentecost (Antiquities of the Jews, 14.13.4 [337-8]; 17.10.2 [254]; Jewish Wars, 1.13.3 [253]; 2.3.1 [42-43]). The Jews from these different provinces and cites represent the Gentile lands into which the lost 10 tribes of Israel were dispersed by the Assyrians in the 8th century BC, those Jews who did not return to Judah at the end of the Babylonian exile, and Jews living in other lands all governed by Rome. These "sheep" of God's flock that were "lost" will be gathered together in the New Covenant of the Good Shepherd as prophesied by the prophet Ezekiel: For thus says the Lord GOD: I myself will look after and tend my sheep. As a shepherd tends his flock when he finds himself among his scattered sheep, so will I tend my sheep. I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered ... I will make a covenant of peace with them ... (Ez 34:11-25).

According to Acts 2:15, the miracle in the Upper Room occurred at the third hour Jewish time, which is 9 AM our time. It was the time when the gates of the Temple opened for the Tamid Morning Prayer service and the required communal and personal sacrifices for the feast day of Pentecost (Num 28:26-31). Large groups of people would have been on their way to the Temple that morning. The people recognized that the men who were proclaiming Jesus the Messiah were Galileans. Perhaps they were recognized by their clothes or their accents. The crowds were amazed that they heard the one language of the Gospel message preached in each of their own dialects by the Galilean Christians.

On the day of the second great Pentecost (the first great Pentecost was the Theophany of God at Mt. Sinai and God's covenant formation with Israel), God reversed the sin that caused the scattering of the family of man across the face of the earth in the event of the Tower of Babel:

Tower of Babel 2nd Great Pentecost
Language is used to promote a human agenda (Gen 11:3-4). Language is used to announce the mighty works of God (Acts 2:14-41).
God causes the confusion of tongues into many different languages (Gen 11:7). God causes many different languages to be understood in one Gospel message (Acts 2:5-11).
The result is disunity (Gen 11:6-7). The result is unity (Acts 2:41).
At the Tower of Babel God scattered the human family across the face of the earth in judgment (Gen 11:9). Pentecost is the beginning of the reunification of the family of mankind as God sends men and women to gather into the New Covenant Church of Jesus Christ a redeemed people from across the face of the earth (Acts 1:8; 2:37-41).
Michal E. Hunt Copyright © 2013

In the great miracle of the Holy Spirit taking possession of the New Covenant Kingdom of Jesus Christ at Pentecost, God restored the family of man and transformed that family into adopted sons and daughters in the family of God. But that divine filling and indwelling did not end on that day-Pentecost is an on-going miracle in the Church as men, women and children are continually reborn into God's holy covenant family through the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Baptism.

In God's divine plan for mankind's salvation, the Old Covenant annual feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits and Pentecost were fulfilled by Jesus and the birth of the New Covenant Kingdom of the Church. The first three feasts came within an 8-day period with Passover on the 14th of Nisan, Unleavened Bread from the 15th to the 21st and Firstfruits on the day after the Sabbath of the holy week of Unleavened Bread (Lev 23:4-14). Weeks/Pentecost is then celebrated 50 days from Firstfruits (Lev 23:15-16). In Jesus' crucifixion and death, in the Resurrection, and in the descent of the Holy Spirit, God fulfilled four Old Covenant sacred annual feasts:

  1. Passover-Prefigured Christ as mankind's Passover sacrifice.
  2. Unleavened Bread -New Covenant sacrifice of the Last Supper and the crucifixion of Jesus, the unblemished Lamb of God.
  3. Firstfruits-Resurrection of Jesus Christ on the day after the Old Covenant Saturday Sabbath.
  4. Weeks/Pentecost-Descent of God the Holy Spirit and the birth of Christ's Kingdom of the New Covenant Church.
Old Covenant Annual Feast Fulfillment
1. Passover Prefigured Christ as mankind's Passover sacrifice.
2. Unleavened Bread New Covenant sacrifice of the Last Supper and the crucifixion of Jesus, the unblemished Lamb of God.
3. Firstfruits Resurrection of Jesus Christ on the day after the Old Covenant Saturday Sabbath.
4. Weeks/Pentecost Descent of God the Holy Spirit and the birth of Christ's Kingdom of the New Covenant Church.
<=== The season of gathering the harvest ===>
5. Trumpets  
6. Atonement  
7. Tabernacles  

These seven feasts are the only annual sacred remembrance feasts commanded by God in the Old Testament (Lev 23). Other feasts like Hanukkah and Purim are not God-ordained feasts but are national feasts declared by the people. The last three ordained feasts (5, 6, and 7) are celebrated in the fall.

The miracle of the coming of the Holy Spirit, on the Feast of Pentecost in 30 AD, is the beginning of the Age of the New Covenant Kingdom of the Church, the Final Age of man, and the great harvest of souls into God's heavenly storehouse. In the liturgical calendar of the Old Covenant annual feasts, the break between the first four annual feasts and the last three annual feasts is the long summer harvest. The "long harvest" is the present "season" or "age" in salvation history. This great harvest of souls into heaven will continue until the Son of God returns to claim His Church and brings an end to time as we know it. It is at that time that the last three of the seven annual Jewish feasts, feasts 5, 6, and 7 will be fulfilled when (#5) the trumpet of God will announce the Second Advent (1 Thes 4:16), (#6) the Final Judgment, and (#7) the creation of the new Heavens and new earth when God tabernacles/dwells with mankind.

Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-31, 34 ~ Renewal by the Spirit
1Bless the LORD [Yahweh], O my soul! O LORD [Yahweh], my God, you are great indeed!
24 How varied are you works, LORD [Yahweh]! In wisdom you have wrought them all; the earth is full of your creatures.
29 When you hide your face, they are lost. When you take away their breath [ruah], they perish and return to the dust from which they came. 30 When you send forth your breath [ruah], they are created, and you renew the face of the earth. 31 May the glory of the LORD [Yahweh] endure forever; may the LORD [Yahweh] be glad in these works!
34 May my theme be pleasing to God; I will rejoice in the LORD [Yahweh].
>In the NAB the word "LORD" in all capital letters replaces the divine name of God in the text.

In today's psalm we sing in praise of God the Creator and His continual renewal of the earth and all life on the earth that is animated by God's very "breath"—God's "life giving Spirit." In Hebrew the word translated "breath" is ruah, which can mean "breath," "wind", "air," or "spirit". It is the same word found in Genesis 1:1 where God's Spirit/wind/breathe was hovering over the waters at the beginning of the Creation event (the NAB translates the word ruah as "mighty wind" in this passage). Christians reinterpreted this psalm and applied it to the renewal of life through God's gift of the Holy Spirit.

The 2nd Reading 1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13 (alternate reading B:Galatians 5:16-25) (alternate reading C:Romans 8:8-17)
3b And no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit. 4 There are different kinds of spiritual gifts by the same Spirit; 5 there are different forms of service but the same Lord; 7 there are different workings by the same God who produces all of them in everyone. 7 To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. ...12 As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many are one body, so also Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves of free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.

St. Paul counsels the faith community in Corinth (Greece) that there are many spiritual gifts but only one Spirit who generates those gifts. And there are many kinds of service, but all forms of service are offered to the same Lord. The legitimacy of works and service is grounded in building up the unity of the Church, the one Body of Christ that is formed from the individual lives of each believer. St. Paul defines spiritual work and service as a phenomenon that is the work of the Holy Spirit to bear witness to lordship of Jesus Christ. Any work or service that does not give glory to Jesus and unity to the Church, in which all are equal, is not of God.

Alternate Second Reading Cycle B: Galatians 5:16-25 ~ The Fruits of the Spirit
Brothers and sisters: 16 ... live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh.  17 For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want.  18 But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.  19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, lust, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, 21 occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like.  I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  22 In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control.  24 Against such there is no law.  Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires.  25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.

St. Paul continues his discourse on the freedom of the Gospel (Gal 5:13) by elaborating on how Christians are called to fulfill the Law of the Gospel in love of neighbor (5:14-15) by walking in the Spirit (5:16-26).  In this passage, St. Paul contrasts "works of the flesh" in verses 19-21 with "fruit of the Spirit" (not "works" of the Spirit) in verses 22-23.  It is the Holy Spirit and not the old Law of the Sinai Covenant that leads one to such positive living.  Lists of vices and virtues where common in philosophical works of the ancient world, and Paul offered other lists in Romans 1:29-31 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.  Paul says that the "flesh," or human desires, is at war with the call of the Holy Spirit for the Christian to live in righteousness that produces the positive "fruit" of the attributes in verses 22-23.  His dire warning is that those who submit to the sins of the flesh "will not inherit the Kingdom of God."  But those who "have crucified their flesh with it passions and desires" and belong to Christ are living "in the Spirit" and they will follow the Spirit into eternal beatitude. 

Alternate Second Reading C: Romans 8:8-17 ~ Living in the Spirit as sons and daughters of God
... 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But you are not in the flesh; on the contrary, you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you. Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you. 12 Consequently, brothers, we are not debtors to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, Abba, "Father!" 16 The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

In the previous chapter in Romans 7:24, St. Paul asked the rhetorical question Who will deliver me from this mortal body? His simple answer in verse 25 was that Jesus Christ is our rescuer, but in chapter 8 Paul provides a more in depth response. The two opening verses introduce the main theme of this chapter: the Christian has been set free from the condemnation of sin and death by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. Life is what the Holy Spirit guarantees! In today's passage St. Paul presents this theme in two parts:

The fall of Adam and Eve resulted in the inheritance of the dis-graced condition of all humanity- original sin. This condition set two directions or two choices before those of us who were born into this dis-graced state:

  1. Either we continue to seek the will of God in our lives and fight against the inclination to enter into sin, or
  2. We allow the selfish desires of the flesh to overwhelm us, and we seek our own life apart from God.

In essence this is the choice between supernatural life through the Holy Spirit or the animal life of the flesh-the natural condition "in the flesh" that Paul speaks of in verse 8.

The New Law of the Gospel that we receive through Jesus Christ is a law of love, grace, and freedom. These three aspects that are present in the New Law were absent in the Old Law:

This freedom is a direct result of the saving work of God the Son (also see 6:18, 20, 22; 2 Cor 3:17; and Gal 5:1, 13; and CCC# 1972).

The source of this life of freedom lived "according to the Spirit" is sanctifying grace. It is the gift of grace the Christian receives in baptism when he becomes infused with the life of the Trinity through the power of the Holy Spirit to heal (sin) and to sanctify our souls. It is a grace that permanently adheres to the soul of the Christian in the Sacrament of Baptism. However, the sanctifying grace that has liberated us from the domination of the flesh and places us under the Law of the Spirit does not prevent sin from continuing to threaten our freedom. St. John Chrysostom warns the Christian: We need to submit to the spirit, to wholeheartedly commit ourselves and strive to keep the flesh in its place. By so doing our flesh will become spiritual again. Otherwise, if we give in to the easy life, this will lower our soul to the level of the flesh and make it carnal again. St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, #13 (Also see CCC# 1266 & 1999).

In Romans 8:9 Paul makes the powerful statement: But you are not in the flesh; on the contrary, you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you. Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. Paul is declaring that only those who are reborn in the spirit can belong to God and have the right to called children in His family. It is a concept he will expand in Romans 8:14-17.

In verses 10-11 Paul assures the Christian that with Christ living in us the body is dead. The reality is that every day we are alive in our physical bodies is another step toward death. No matter what we "invest" in our earthly bodies, it is a short term investment. The body, because of the effects of sin, is doomed to physical death and is an instrument of spiritual death. Yet, through the regenerative waters of our baptism we are alive in the spirit of Christ. He has justified (made righteous in the site of God) the believer, and we look forward to a final resurrection at the end of time when we will receive new bodies which are imperishable. Living in the spirit of Christ, Christians look forward to being alive in a way that makes the present reality of life in the flesh a pale counterfeit kind of living. Investing in life in the Spirit is a long term investment that will reap enormous benefits because God stands behind that investment.

In verses 12-13 Paul draws a conclusion from what he has written so far in this chapter-that the Christian is no longer dominated by a fallen human nature, and if the Christian chooses to put the "flesh" to death by continuing to live in the Spirit he will have life. Paul then begins a discussion of the consequences on Christian life through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 8:14-17` The Christian as a child of God
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, Abba, "Father!" 16 The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
The reality of God the Holy Spirit's presence brings not only new life but a new relationship with God-a relationship of spiritual adoption. Through our adoption we become partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life and Jesus' prayer at Gethsemane in Mark 14:36 is placed on our lips because the Spirit makes us children of God: "Abba, Father!" he said, "For you everything is possible. Take this cup away from me. But let it be as you, not I, would have it." In this prayer we unite ourselves to Christ's sufferings as well as to His glory.

Paul express this spiritual adoption in Galatians 4:3-7~ So too with us, as long as we were still under age, we were enslaved to the elemental principles of this world; but when the completion of the time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born a subject of the Law, to redeem the subjects of the Law, so that we could receive adoption as sons. As you are sons, God has sent into our hearts the Spirit of his Son crying, 'Abba, Father'; and so you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir, by God's own act. In both the Romans and Galatians passages Paul is speaking of the two aspects of redemption: freedom from slavery to sin and adoption as children of God. This adoption through the Spirit makes us the joint-heirs of what Christ has won for us and therefore guarantees our inheritance of eternal life (CCC#2782; 2784).

What is the implication for Christians being adopted into the family of God? The Greek word huiothesia, [hwee-oth-es-ee'-ah] "adoption", was a technical term expressing the legal assumption of a person into the status of son-ship in a natural family. Paul is taking this word, used in 1st century legal language in the Roman world, and is applying it to both Gentile Christians and Jewish Christians who through the Sacrament of Baptism have become members in God's covenant family. However, it is interesting to note that it is not the adoptee who "adopts" but the family and so Paul's term expresses the prerogative of election-of being chosen by the "family" of the Most Holy Trinity to become sons and daughters of the new and everlasting Covenant in Christ. The use of this word is also reminiscent of the election of the "children" of Israel as Yahweh's chosen people-God Himself chose the children of Israel out of all the peoples of the earth. The Christian who first comes to justification by faith is also elected, but there is also a difference in this new covenant adoption because nowhere in the Old Testament were the old covenant people ever invited to call God by this intimate form of address: "Abba," an Aramaic word meaning "father" in the intimate sense in which an American child might use the word "daddy." The use of such an intimate address for God is unheard of in the Old Testament-not even in such passages as Deuteronomy 14:1; Exodus 4:22; Hosea 11:1; Isaiah 1:2; Jeremiah 3:22; and Wisdom 18:13.

Looking at Deuteronomy 14:1-3 and comparing it to Romans 8:15-16, there is a difference in the relationship that is suggested. Deuteronomy 14:1 expresses a corporate relationship with Israel as a covenant people who are children of Yahweh. However, Romans 8:15 (and Gal 4:3-7) express a personal relationship of child to father and in this sense the father is God and the child is each individual Christian believer who has been justified by faith through the Sacrament of Baptism. Our covenant relationship is both corporate (the Church the Body of Christ) and personal (each individual son and daughter of God). The only exception to this is found in Psalms 89:27 when David speaks prophetically of the Messiah: He will cry to me, "You are my father, my God, the rock of my salvation!" So I shall make him my first-born, the highest of earthly kings. This gift of divine son/daughter-ship is only an inheritance through Christ (CCC# 257-60).

The concept of individual son/daughter-ship through the ministry of the Holy Spirit is not a gift given to the children of Israel in the Old Testament, but it is promised by the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 43:1-7 in a prophecy of future salvation: Bring back my sons from far away and my daughters from the remotest part of the earth, everyone who bears my name, whom I have created for my glory, whom I have formed, whom I have made [verses 6c-7 NJB]. St. Peter proclaimed: There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved (Acts 4:12). It is through bearing the name of Jesus Christ and being His heirs that we become sons and daughters of the Most High God.

There is also another deeply theological link to be made to the Christian position as heirs in Christ Jesus. In Romans 8:17 Paul places this "inheritance" on a Christological standard. The Christian becomes an heir of the Father = God but also a co-heir of Christ. In Romans 8:17 a condition is placed upon our inheritance in union with the Father's firstborn who is Jesus Christ. Through our baptismal union with the Son we have inherited a dynamic insertion into the life of the Trinity and since the Trinity is a union that cannot be divided even though it is a union of 3, we are fully united to Christ in His mission as Savior. This union is not static but is active, efficacious, and complete. Paul makes it clear that as Christians we must share in Christ's redemptive suffering in order to share in His glory. He will revisit this same mysterious connection between suffering and the hope of glory in the end of this chapter. The point Paul makes is to form a surprising connection between Jesus' Passion and Resurrection and Christian inheritance in eternal blessings. In our earthly life, it is necessary to take up the Cross of Christ and follow Him because the way to glorification is through the imitation of Christ by offering up our sufferings in this life as He did in His.

While the gift of our divine son/daughter ship is individual, our sufferings are not meant to be only our own. Our sufferings are offered up for Christ's sufferings when we unite our suffering to His. When we unite our human sufferings to His human sufferings we do not suffer alone but we suffer in union with the suffering He offered up for our salvation and the salvation of the entire world. Suffering is part of our fallen human condition which is why He assumed our suffering in order to bring about our redemption. He didn't come to do away with suffering but He did come to unite our suffering to His. Jesus has shown the way in suffering for us-now Christian suffering united with His redemptive suffering also become redemptive! Our suffering is not only the overflow of His suffering but through suffering with Christ our participation in his glorification is assured. Unlike most human heirs who greedily horde their inheritance and are unwilling to share their earthly wealth with other children in the family of their earthly fathers, God the Son offers us a share in His full inheritance-but as co-heirs we must cooperate in that inheritance. Jesus of Nazareth suffered in order to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth and anyone who is His co-heir and continues His work must share in His suffering while cooperating in faith and love to carry the Gospel message of salvation to the world. The promised inheritance of eternal life is certainly a gift of grace far beyond any amount of temporal suffering. The short term suffering yields a long term investment of eternal love and peace. Paul understood the nature of personal suffering jointed to the redemptive suffering of Christ when he wrote of his own redemptive suffering for the sake of the Church: Now I rejoice in my suffering for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the Church (Col 1:24).

The Gospel of John 20:19-23 or Alternate Cycle B: John 14:15-16; 16:12-15 or Alternate Cycle C: John 14:15-16, 23b-26
John 20:19-23 ~ The Apostles Receive the Holy Spirit
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I sent you. 22And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."
It is Sunday afternoon. The "even time" of the day is toward the close of the day. The next day for the Jews begins at sundown, so evening is in the mid-to-late afternoon. The time is probably about 3 PM, the time of the hour of prayer and the afternoon liturgical worship service of the Tamid in the Temple. It is the same hour when Jesus gave up His life on the altar of the Cross three days earlier. It is the afternoon of Resurrection Sunday. The disciples are afraid because the Sanhedrin may arrest them and try them for blasphemy just as they condemned Jesus. The resurrected Christ comes to them supernaturally. Locked doors cannot stop Him. His greeting to the disciples is the customary greeting of the Jews. The greeting should be familiar to us because these are the very words the priest uses, as he stands in "persona Christi", in the Person of Christ, as he greets the congregation and says "Peace be with you."

The disciples were filled with joy at seeing the Lord. In His greeting Jesus has reassured the Apostles, who must have been feeling ashamed of their conduct after His arrest, and He has lovingly reestablished the intimacy they had previously enjoyed with Him. He shows them His wounded hands and His pierced side. To show them His wounds dispels any impression that they are seeing a ghost or imposter. They are truly seeing the risen, glorified body of Jesus Himself.

Verses 21-23 Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I sent you. 22And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."
This remarkable moment in salvation history is the ordination of the Magisterium of the Church. Jesus is sending the Apostles out into the world to proclaim His kingdom with the power and the authority of God the Father.

Jesus said "Receive the Holy Spirit..." in the Greek text the article is missing. Some scholars suggest the missing article indicates that in this case Jesus' breath was not the giving of God the Holy Spirit, as they would receive Him with the rest of the New Covenant Church at the Feast of Pentecost 50 days later, but was instead an "effusion" of His own Spirit. However, do not miss the significance of Jesus breathing on the Apostles. In Hebrew and in Greek the word for "breath" is the same word as "spirit." God first breathed into Adam to give him physical life (Gen 2:7) and now Christ breathes His Spirit into the Apostles to give them spiritual life. He is sending them forth as his emissaries (Apostle means "one who is sent"), in the power of the Holy Spirit, who will make all things "new" again just as He did in the first creation (see Gen 1:2). The prophet Ezekiel envisioned this day when he wrote of the Messianic restoration of Israel: He said to me, 'Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man. Say to the breath, "the Lord Yahweh says this: come from the four winds, breath; breathe on these dead, so that they come to life!" ' I prophesied as he had ordered me, and the breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet, a great, an immense army (Ez 37:9-10 NJB). Man, formerlyly dead to sin, is now resurrected in Christ; and this faithful remnant of the Old Israel has become the nucleus of the New Israel, the New Covenant Universal [catholic] Church that will become an immense army of disciples converting the world through the spread of the Gospel.

Verse 23 Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.
The Sacraments of the Church are visible signs instituted by Christ to confer grace. Jesus is instituting the Sacrament of Penance [Reconciliation]. Under the Old Covenant the sinner placed his hands on the animal, confesses his sins before the priest, and the animal died in his place. Now Christ is the Lamb of sacrifice; but we still must have confession and repentance before sins can be forgiven and communion with God restored. In verses 22-23 the priests of the New Covenant carry the Son of God's authority to forgive or retain sins. The concept of private confession of sins has never been a part of the sacramental system of the Old or New Covenant. Even though it is a healthy spiritual practice to confess our shortcomings to God in our daily prayers, it is necessary to bring those venial sins (unintentional sins) before the Lord in the Penitential rite of the Mass in order to receive forgiveness. Any mortal sins must be confessed to an ordained priest of the New Covenant Church, who is a successor of the first ministerial priesthood in Christ, to whom we confess as though we are confessing to Christ Himself.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that Jesus is the physician of our souls and our bodies. He both healed the sick and forgave their sins and He has willed His Church, in the power of God the Holy Spirit, to continue His work of healing and salvation. In this sacrament the sinner places himself before the merciful judgment of God who heals and purifies hearts and souls. CCC#1422: Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God's mercy for the offense committed against him, and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example, and by prayer labors for their conversion. Also see CCC# 1423-1498.

So you may ask the question, how do we really know Jesus meant for us to confess to a human priest and not just to Him? You will agree that in verse 22 in speaking to the Apostles Jesus has given the Church the power to forgive individual sins and the power to retain individual sins. How can the Church exercise this power to make decisions about particular sins unless those sins are openly confessed to Christ through His priesthood? We have to confess specific sins!

Alternate Gospel Reading Cycle B: John 15:25-26; 16:12-15 ~ The Spirit of Truth
Jesus said to his disciples: 26 "When the Advocate [Paraclete] comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me.  27 And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.  [...]  16:12 I have much to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.  13 But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.  He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming.  14 He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.  15 Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you." [...] = literal Greek

This is the third time Jesus has mentioned the Paraclete, the title of God the Holy Spirit (see Jn 14:16, 26).  The word parakletos is peculiar to John's writings.  In 5 passages in this Gospel: 14:15-17, 26; 15:26-27; 16:7-11, and 12-14, John identifies the 3rd Person of the Most Holy Trinity by the title the Parakletos.  The etymology of the Greek word is para = "beside" and kalein = "to call"; it is a legal term for one's advocate who presents one's case in a trial.  Jesus was and continues to be the first "Advocate" but when He leaves earth in visible form, He promised "another Paraclete" (Jn 14:16) so that His followers will not be "orphans" without protection (Jn 14:18).  The Holy Spirit is the Advocate of the Mystical Body of Christ, pleading God's cause for the human family, protecting the Church from error, sanctifying the souls of the faithful through the preaching of God's word and through the Sacraments.  His mission is to teach (Jn 14:26), bear witness (Jn 15:26), and to convince the world of sin (Jn 16:8-11).  He is the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity and the love of God producing the effects of divine grace on earth (see CCC 244-48).  It is as the Spirit of Truth that God the Holy Spirit will convict the world of its guilt and sin.  The world has rejected Jesus the Truth, His words and His works, and the Holy Spirit will demonstrate and convict the world of this rejection. 

 

16:12 I have much to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.  13 But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.  He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming.
The title "the Spirit of Truth" is repeated a third time (Jn 14:17; 15:26; 16:13-14).  These passages help us understand the ministry of God the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers:

  1. John 14:17 ~ ... the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it.  But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you. "It" refers to truth and not to the Holy Spirit who is always referred to as "He."
  2. John 15:26 ~ When the Advocate [Paraclete] comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me.
  3. John 16:13-15 ~ He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming.

The "things that are coming" that the Holy Spirit will reveal is the complete significance of Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection as well as the mystery of Eucharist and the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity.  He will also reveal to the Magisterium of the New Covenant order the hidden depths of the mystery of Jesus Christ and the gift of grace that is our salvation.  In other words, God the Holy Spirit will continue the teaching mission of Jesus to bear witness to the truth (Jn 8:31-32; 18:37; CCC# 687).

It is from this promise that the Great Councils of Vatican I and II pronounced the doctrine of magisterial infallibility.  This doctrine states that the Pope alone and/or the Bishops united with the Pope, the successor of St. Peter, are divinely protected from teaching error when they define matters pertaining to faith and morals (Lumen Gentium, 25).  The guidance and intervention of the Paraclete is Jesus' assurance that Gospel will not be distorted, corrupted, or misunderstood by the ministerial priesthood of the Church during her earthly pilgrimage.  See CCC# 768, 889-892.

Alternate Gospel Reading Cycle C: John 14:15-16, 23b-26 ~ Jesus Promises to send the Holy Spirit
Jesus said: 15 "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate [Parakletos] to be with you always ... 23b Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me. 25 I have told you this while I am with you. 26 The Advocate, the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name-he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you."

Jesus' commandments include everything He has taught us. We must exhibit love in action! In 1 John 3:18 and 5:3, St. John the Apostle writes: Children, our love must be not just words or mere talk, but something active and genuine. This will be the proof that we belong to the truth... and This is what the love of God is, keeping his commandments.

Jesus is our Advocate and the "other" Advocate He promises to send is God the Holy Spirit, who is for the first time revealed as the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity. The Old Covenant people did not have the revelation of the Trinitarian nature of God. In Hebrew the word ruah (i.e. Gen 1:2), meaning wind, breath, air, or soul/spirit, expressed the "spirit" or "divine wind" of God. Although the Hebrew word ruah can denote human breath (the air humans breathe and exhale to stay alive which is a sign of life, or the absence of which indicates death), the use of this word in association with Yahweh is the very breathe which comes forth from the "mouth" of the Living God. It is His living power (see Ps 33:6). It is the "breath of God" that inspired the holy prophets and it is given to the kings of Israel at their coronation as Yahweh's anointed (Is 11:2). In the Greek translation of the Old Testament and in the New Testament, the Hebrew word ruah is usually translated by the Greek word pneuma and is used to identify the Advocate, the Comforter also known as the Paraclete: God the Holy Spirit.

The word "Paraclete" is an Anglicized transliteration of the Greek word parakletos. This word is only found five times in Sacred Scripture and only in John's Gospel and in St. John's First Epistle (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7 and 1 John 2:1). The word parakletos can have various meanings. It can mean advocate, intercessor, counselor, protector or supporter. The literal Greek entomology is from para = "to the side of" and kaleo = "to summon." Therefore, the word can be interpreted to mean "to be called to someone's side in order to accompany, console, protect and/or defend that person."

In this passage Jesus says: I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Parakletos [Paraclete] to be with you... In John 15:26 Jesus will continue telling the Apostles of the coming of the Holy Spirit when He says, When the Advocate [Parakletos] comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. Then in John 16:7, Jesus will reassure the Apostles: "I will send him (the Holy Spirit) to you...", and after the Resurrection the glorified Jesus, God the Son, will breathe on the Apostles in the Upper Room and will say >"Receive the Holy Spirit" (see John 20:22).

These verses establish the procession of the Trinity. In writing about these passages St. John Chrysostom, the great last 4th century Archbishop of Constantinople contends that there is no contradiction in these statements: But why said He, 'I will ask the Father'? Because had He said, 'I will send Him,' they would not have so much believed, and now the object is that He should be believed. For afterwards He declares that He Himself sendeth Him saying, 'Receive ye the Holy Ghost' (20:22); but in this place He telleth that He asketh the Father so as to render His discourse credible to them (Homilies on the Gospel of St. John, John Chrysostom, Homily LXXV).

Jesus speaks of God the Holy Spirit as another Advocate in John 14:16 because He will be given to the Church in Christ's place as Advocate, Defender, and Teacher to give assistance since Jesus is going to ascend to heaven. But the Advocate who is to be sent is not different from Christ, rather He is another similar to Himself (see Mat 6:24). He will send the Holy Spirit after His Ascension in Acts chapter 2 on Pentecost Sunday when the Church is filled and indwelled by God the Holy Spirit.

John 23b-26 Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me. 25 I have told you this while I am with you. 26 The Advocate, the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name-he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you."
When He tells His disciples "if you love me, keep my word," Jesus is referring to the entire Gospel message; the "all I have said to you" of verse 26 as distinguished from its separate teachings or commandments. Jesus' reply seems evasive but in fact He does explain why He does not reveal Himself to the world. The form Jesus' manifestation takes is God the Father's will, and it is the Father's will that Jesus makes Himself known only to those who love Him and keep His commandments. In the Old Testament Yahweh revealed Himself to His covenant people in the Pillar of Cloud and the Pillar of Fire (Glory Cloud) on the wilderness journey (Ex 13:21-22; 14:19, 24; 33:9-10; Num 12:5; 14:14; Dt 31:15), in the fiery Theophany at Sinai in Exodus chapter 19, and when God took possession of the desert Tabernacle and later the Temple in Jerusalem in the form of the Glory Cloud, or in Hebrew, the Shekinah (Ex 40:34-38; 1 Kng 8:10-11; 2 Chron 5:13-14). With the establishment of liturgical worship Yahweh promised His people that He would dwell in the presence of His covenant people: And I shall live with the Israelites and be their God, and they will know that I am Yahweh their God, who brought them out of Egypt to live among them: I, Yahweh their God (Ex 29:45 NJB). The people did not "see" Yahweh but they did witness His presence. Centuries later in the 6th century BC, Yahweh made the promise of His presence in a future and eternal covenant centered on the Messiah: David my servant is to be their prince for ever. I shall make a covenant of peace with them, an eternal covenant with them. I shall resettle them and make them grow; I shall set my sanctuary among them or ever. I shall make my home above them; I shall be their God, and they will be my people. And the nations will know that I am Yahweh the sanctifier of Israel, when my sanctuary is with then forever (Ez 37:25c-27 NJB). Jesus of Nazareth fulfills this promise.

But how is the dwelling with His New Covenant people that Jesus speaks of different from the Old Testament presence of Yahweh over the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies of the desert Tabernacle and the Temple in Jerusalem? Jesus is referring to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the tabernacle of the believer's body, which is the soul of every believer renewed by grace through the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the promise of the New Covenant-the presence of God in each believer. It is the prophecy made to Ezkiel in 37:26c: "I shall make my sanctuary among them for ever" (NJB).

John 14:26 The Advocate, the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name-he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you." That "He" is an important pronoun! John makes a grammatical error that may be bad Greek but is good Christian theology. The Greek word for wind or spirit is "pneuma". The word is neuter and does not take the masculine article John has given it; but this is good theology. Jesus is speaking of the third Person of the Holy Trinity. It is theologically incorrect to speak of God the Holy Spirit as an "it." God the Holy Spirit is a person and not simply a force. Jesus assures every believer that God the Holy Spirit will be "with you" as your companion in fellowship, "by you" in His position as your Advocate and Consoler, and "in you" as the indwelling personal God who is your source of supernatural life.

Notice the promise Jesus makes concerning the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will help them to remember what Jesus has taught and He will give them a deeper understanding of those teachings. St. John wrote that they did not understand the significance of many events or how those events were fulfilled in Scripture until after the Resurrection. For example:

  1. In John 2:21-22 this lack of understanding was noted in the first cleansing of the Temple.
  2. In John 12:16 when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey.
  3. In John 20:9 St. John will make this statement a third time after the two Apostles enter the empty tomb.

St. Josemaria Escriva assures us: This same Spirit guides the successors of the Apostles, your bishops, united with the Bishop of Rome, to whom it was entrusted to preserve the faith and to 'preach the Gospel to the whole creation.' (The Way, as quoted in Navarre Commentary page 190). The Holy Spirit also guides and teaches you. Always pray for His guidance when you read and study Sacred Scripture. It is Him ministry to be with you and to help you understand.

Acts 2:1-4 (CCC 1287), 2:1 (CCC 2623), 2:3-4 (CCC 696), 2:11 (CCC 1287)
Psalms 104 (CCC 288), 104:24 (CCC 295), 104:30 (CCC 292, 703)
1 Corinthians 12 (CCC 1988, 2003), 12:1-13 (CCC 1454, 1971), 12:3 (CCC 152, 449, 455, 683, 2670, 2681), 12:4-6 (CCC 249), 12:6 (CCC 308), 12:7 (CCC 801, 951), 12:13 (CCC 694, 790, 798, 1227, 1267, 1396)
John 20:19 (CCC 575, 643, 645, 659), 20:20 (CCC 645), 20:21-23 (CCC 1087, 1120, 1441), 20:21 (CCC 730, 858), 20:22-23 (CCC 976, 1485), 20:22 (CCC 730, 788, 816, 862, 888, 890), 20:23 (CCC 1461, 2839)
or John 14:15-16, 23b-26 14:16 (CCC 692), 14:23-26 (CCC 2615), 14:23 (CCC 260), 14:26 (CCC 243, 244, 263, 692, 729, 1099, 2466, 2623)

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