Thought for the Day – 8 May – Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Eastertide – Today’s Gospel: John 16:5–11
” 5 But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convince the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” (RSV-Catholic ed)
“It is better for you that I go”
St Bernard (1091-1153) Mellifluous Doctor
3rd sermon for Pentecost
The Holy Spirit overshadowed the Virgin Mary (Lk 1:35) and strengthened the apostles on the day of Pentecost. In her case it was to soften the impact on her virginal body of the coming of the divinity and, in theirs, to “clothe them with power from on high” (Lk 24:49), that is with burning charity… In their weakness how could they have fulfilled their mission of conquering death without that “love as strong as death” or not allowed the “gates of hell to prevail against them” without that “passion fierce as Sheol” ? (Mt 16:18; Sg 8:6). However, when they saw such enthusiasm, some thought they were drunk (Acts 2:13).
They were indeed drunk but with new wine…, that which the “true Vine” poured down from the heights of heaven, that which “gladdens the human heart” (Jn 15:1; Ps 104:15)… This was a new wine for the dwellers on earth but it is found in abundance in heaven…, it runs in streams in the streets and squares of the holy city where it spreads gladness of heart…
And so in heaven, there was a special wine of which earth was ignorant. Yet earth, too, had something of its own that was its glory – Christ’s flesh – and heaven thirsted for the presence of that flesh. Could anyone stand in the way of so reliable and grace-filled an exchange, between heaven and earth, angels and apostles, as that by which earth possesses the Holy Spirit and heaven the flesh of Christ?…
“If I do not go away,” Jesus says, “the Advocate will not come to you.” That is to say, if you do not allow what you love to leave you, you will not obtain what you desire. “It is to your advantage that I go” and that I should carry you over from earth to heaven, from flesh to spirit, for the Father is spirit, the Son is spirit and the Holy Spirit is also spirit… And the Father “who is spirit seeks worshippers who will worship him in spirit and in truth” (Jn 4:23-24).
Come O Holy Spirit, Come!