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Won by one

Jesus said to his disciples:

I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.

These merciful words of Jesus must have made a mixed impression on the Apostles. They might have felt that he would protect them from more than they could endure. They might have also felt a desire to know what they were missing. We know that three of them had already experienced a "glory glimpse" that bewildered them, but it is doubtful they would have traded the experience for anything.

But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.

With these words Jesus explains to them more of his plan for their continuing entry into the whole mystery of Salvation. He builds up their hopeful anticipation of a new way to know and live. Who is this Spirit of truth? What did they understand Jesus to mean? The Master continues:

He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears…

These words of Jesus seem to imply that the Spirit (the Holy Spirit) somehow needs to be briefed or brought into the ongoing work of Salvation. Of course, the Spirit, united to the Father and the Son, always knows everything. God in three Divine Persons acts in a unified way. If we were to speak of our day being the "Age of the Holy Spirit" we would know that the Father and the Son are in no way left out.

…and will declare to you the things that are coming.

What the Spirit will offer to them was likely a source of interest mixed with fear. It is good to know what is ahead. It is also potentially frightening. These men knew well that association with Jesus could bring controversy.

He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.

The Apostles are being drawn into and invited to share in the mystery of the love within the Holy Trinity. When they themselves are obedient (like the Son is to the Father) or when they give witness by word and deed to what the Son has done, they will be part of the way God is present in the world. They are being "caught up in the love of the God they cannot see," and in doing so they will make God known to others.

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.

Jesus continues speaking about the reality of God (so to speak) "within himself." In response to Philip (two chapters before, Jn 14:8-9), Jesus said, Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Jesus has always been sharing the mystery (of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit) with the Apostles. His words reveal that His saving work among us has been the work of God, of the Holy Trinity. Each Person of the Holy Trinity is to be honored, loved, and thanked in our response to what we have been given and what we are asked to share with others. In our prayer and practice it is fitting and important to acknowledge the real distinction of Persons in the Holy Trinity, all the while knowing that they are one and equal. The Father (out of love) sends the Son who saves us (out of love) and sends us the Holy Spirt (out of love) so that we can believe, receive, give, and live (out of love) what has been won for us (out of love). God is love, and Love unites.

Fr. Zuberbueler is pastor of St. Louis Church in Alexandria.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016