Cooperation with the Holy Spirit in Being Guided More Deeply into the Truth, Sixth Wednesday of Easter, May 4, 2016

Fr. Roger J. Landry
Visitation Convent of the Sisters of Life, Manhattan
Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter
May 4, 2016
Acts 17:15.22-18:1, Ps 148, Jn 16:12-15


To listen to an audio recording of today’s homily, please click below: 


The following points were attempted in the homily: 

  • Today in the Gospel, on the eve of the “Decenarium of the Holy Spirit” that begins tomorrow on the Solemnity of the Ascension,  Jesus speaks to us about how the Holy Spirit “will guide you to all truth” because “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.” Kindergarteners are not taught Calculus for a reason, because they could not handle it yet. There are various steps in learning and assimilation and God knows how he has made us. The transition from natural religion to the Covenants of the Old Testament was an enormous step in the learning curve; from Old Testament to New another. But that learning continues. It continued for the Church at the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, helping Christians to understand the significance of so much Jesus taught and did. It continues still for each of us. The Holy Spirit continues to want to lead us to all truth, making explicit what was implicit in what has already been given. Are we open to that continued formation?
  • In today’s first reading, we see how St. Paul sought to lead the Athenians from what they knew into something much deeper. He began with their religiosity, surrounded by the statues of all the pagan gods, and praised their wisdom in the statue dedicated to the god they didn’t know. He sought to help them to know him, and not just as one God among others, but as the one true and only God. He helped them to see that God was not made but the maker. He helped them to see that he gave us Creation to get to know him through seeking, even groping, in order to find him. He helped them to see how God wants an intimate relationship with all of us, so that in him would “live and move and have our being” and grasp that we “are his offspring,” that he seeks to adopt us as his beloved children. And he helped them to see that life isn’t a debating society, that religion is not just a thing to think about, but the most consequential thing we do, because there is a judgment coming on which our continued life will depend, that Jesus’ bodily resurrection — in contrast to the Greek notion of the continuance alone of the soul — is meant to harbinger our own.
  • What was the reaction? There were three. The first group scoffed. The second procrastinated, saying that St. Paul’s message wasn’t important enough to act on today. The third was faith, as we see in Dionysius and Damaris. Those three reactions we can look at with regard to the work of the Holy Spirit in leading us into all truth. Some scoff, as if such a thing were possible, and think they already know everything they need to and respond with hardened soil to God’s progressive revelation. Others put it off and read the daily newspaper or go about the chores of daily life. But the Holy Spirit wants us to respond by “joining” the Hoy Spirit and “believing.”
  • Today at Mass, Jesus continues through the power of the Holy Spirit to teach us and guide us into all truth. He continues to nourish us, leading us to appreciate even more what we’re about to do by the power of the Holy Spirit, so that in our Eucharistic Lord we may “live, move and have our being.”


The readings for today’s Mass were:

Reading 1 ACTS 17:15, 22—18:1

After Paul’s escorts had taken him to Athens,
they came away with instructions for Silas and Timothy
to join him as soon as possible.Then Paul stood up at the Areopagus and said:
“You Athenians, I see that in every respect
you are very religious.
For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines,
I even discovered an altar inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God.’
What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you.
The God who made the world and all that is in it,
the Lord of heaven and earth,
does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands,
nor is he served by human hands because he needs anything.
Rather it is he who gives to everyone life and breath and everything.
He made from one the whole human race
to dwell on the entire surface of the earth,
and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions,
so that people might seek God,
even perhaps grope for him and find him,
though indeed he is not far from any one of us.
For ‘In him we live and move and have our being,’
as even some of your poets have said,
‘For we too are his offspring.’
Since therefore we are the offspring of God,
we ought not to think that the divinity is like an image
fashioned from gold, silver, or stone by human art and imagination.
God has overlooked the times of ignorance,
but now he demands that all people everywhere repent
because he has established a day on which he will ‘judge the world
with justice’ through a man he has appointed,
and he has provided confirmation for all
by raising him from the dead.”

When they heard about resurrection of the dead,
some began to scoff, but others said,
“We should like to hear you on this some other time.”
And so Paul left them.
But some did join him, and became believers.
Among them were Dionysius,
a member of the Court of the Areopagus,
a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

After this he left Athens and went to Corinth.

Responsorial Psalm PS 148:1-2, 11-12, 13, 14

R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
R. Alleluia.
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights.
Praise him, all you his angels;
praise him, all you his hosts.
R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
R. Alleluia.
Let the kings of the earth and all peoples,
the princes and all the judges of the earth,
Young men too, and maidens,
old men and boys.
R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
R. Alleluia.
Praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
His majesty is above earth and heaven.
R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
R. Alleluia.
He has lifted up the horn of his people;
Be this his praise from all his faithful ones,
from the children of Israel, the people close to him.
R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia JN 14:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I will ask the Father
and he will give you another Advocate
to be with you always.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel JN 16:12-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.
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.
He will glorify me,
because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.
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.”