“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.” (John 16:12)
The Word of God is fathomless. To plumb the depths of the Word of God takes a life time. Jesus knew that he had a relatively short time with the Twelve. However, he also knew that it would be up to them to spread the Good News to the rest of the world once he had returned to the Father.
Jesus does not withhold necessary information from the apostles. At the same time, he realizes that they would never be able to absorb the entire and profound message of the Word made Flesh. It is for this reason that the Holy Spirit has been imparted to us. With the aid of the Holy Spirit, we are able to continue our encounter with the Word of God.
I have used this imagery before, but I believe that it is apropos for this Gospel message today. Most of us if not all of us are familiar with roses. We have experienced their growth cycle from tightly knit bud to full flower. It takes days for a rose to completely open. Each time we view the rose over the days of this cycle, we something new. We experience the rose as we have not experienced it before. In its full flower, it reveals a beauty that some consider unparalleled in the realm of flowering plants.
I have the same experience with the Word of God. Each time we encounter it, we experience it anew. Each time we meditate upon it, we experience it as we have not experienced it before. It is the Holy Spirit working within us that makes this possible. That which we could not bear to hear before is now something that we can bear and understand. The Spirit, our Advocate, is constantly at work in the Church, the Body of Christ, revealing the beauty of the Word made Flesh more fully for those of us who are willing to continue to plumb its depths. We are led by the Holy Spirit. We are guided by the Spirit’s wisdom. We are strengthened by the unfolding Word of God.
Jesus last discourse promises us this Advocate, this Paraclete. It is the Spirit of Jesus living among us just as surely as Jesus lived among and with the apostles and disciples of his own day.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator