Holy Spirit Was and Is


We read at the end of chapter seven of St. John’s gospel, the Lord Jesus promised that “rivers of living water will flow from within” the one who believes in Him. St. John explains that the living water is the Holy Spirit.

Holy Spirit has come at certain points in time with outward signs. Tongues of fire. A luminous cloud. Speech in many languages. A dove. An anointing.

But the Holy Spirit comes, first and foremost, as an invisible spiritual gift. The gift operates inside us, not outside. The gift elevates the soul of a human being, from within.

Continue reading “Holy Spirit Was and Is”

“Where I am Going…”

Passion of the Christ Today you will be with me

“…you cannot come.” (John 7:34, 8:21, 13:33, 13:36)

Lord Jesus said this multiple times, to different audiences.

At Holy Mass today, we hear Him say it to the Pharisees. He went on to tell them that they would die in their sins, because they did not believe in Him, did not believe in God incarnate, the only-begotten eternal Word made man.

The Lord also said the exact same sentence to another group of people, and then to one of them in particular. Anyone remember? “Where I am going, you cannot come.”

To the Apostles at the Last Supper. And then particularly to St. Peter. “Where I am going you cannot come.”

But Jesus did not tell St. Peter and the Apostles that they would die in their sins. Instead, He gave them a commandment, and then made them a promise.

Who remembers the commandment?

“Love one another.”

Who remembers the promise? ‘Where I am going, you cannot come now, but…’

“You shall follow afterward.”

En otras palabras: When we look upon Christ lifted up, skewered to the cross in agony, dereliction, and death–when we look upon Him with His arms outstretched between heaven and earth–when we gaze upon the crucifix and see not defeat and meaninglessness, but rather the burning light of God’s eternal love–when we see Jesus with faith, we do not die in our sins. No. We live for glory eternal.

Prince and Other Particularities

“But we know where he is from.” (John 7:27)

Got me thinking about: Where am I from?

Upper-northwest Washington, D.C. I’m from Redskins fans. And from white people– the most well-meaning and well-mannered white people you’ll ever find. With every passing year, I admire my mother and father more, and I thank God more heartily that He brought me into this world from Kirk and Ann White.

princeI’m from Chevy Chase Playground, at Connecticut Avenue and McKinley Street, where I spent most of the 1970’s trying to learn how to play basketball. Speaking of the 1970’s: I’m from a time when people trusted each other more, and got along better, I think, than we do now.

I’m from the complicated East Coast. I’m from the United States. I’m from the English-speaking peoples, from the race of William Shakespeare. Praise God!

All of us have our own particular origins. None of us can altogether escape them.

In my limited experience I have learned that the greatest delusion a man can fall into is: thinking that there is some life for him to live other than being his father’s son. And the greatest delusion a woman can fall into is thinking she can live as someone other than her mother’s daughter. The Lord gives us each total uniqueness and sovereign free will, to be sure. But He also gives us particular origins, and to despise our origins is to despise ourselves.

They thought that the Christ must be a man of incomprehensibly mysterious origin. How wrong they were! They had it altogether backwards.

The Nazarene, Who was raised by a carpenter and his wife, Who learned from them how to speak and walk and make pilgrimages down the Jordan to Jerusalem, Who frequented the same synagogue for years, where everyone could remember when He first started showing signs of a beard—the dusty-footed Galilean has revealed the truth:

We all have one origin: We come from God. And God brings each of us into the world in such a marvelously particular way that only He could come up with it all.

God gave me a teenage experience in which I listened to the greatest musician any of us will ever hear of, and I lived the years of high-school during his prime. God gave me Prince and the Revolution to grow up with, in their prime, when Prince wrote music and put on a show like no one since.

Only God could do something like that, give me something like that. Praise Him!

Judgment according to Jesus


The gospel reading at Holy Mass today may strike us as a bit obscure. Some verses get skipped in the Lectionary.

Hopefully we recall reading about the cure of the paralytic at the pool of Bethesda, when the Lord Jesus told him to pick up his mat and walk. Then the Temple authorities sought to arrest Him for breaking the sabbath.

In the chapter we read from today, the Lord points out to the crowd that it is considered legal to circumcise on the sabbath. So shouldn’t it be legal miraculously to heal paralytics on the sabbath?

The Lord seems to me to be getting at this question:

What is the foundation upon which we can base a consistent method of judging between right and wrong?

The idea in Jerusalem was: “We have the Law of Moses!” But Jesus pointed out: The very circumcision by which we identify ourselves as Jews—this practice is older than the Law of Moses.

In other words, Christ basically says: You really don’t have anywhere near as solid a foundation as you think you do. After all, here I am, pouring out divine love everywhere I go, and you consider me a criminal. Something don’t add up.

Then the Lord declares: ‘The foundation I have for all my teachings is the heavenly Father, Whom I have known perfectly for all eternity.’

Because Jesus possesses—and has always possessed—unique and perfect knowledge, He and He alone offers a true foundation for a consistent method of judging between right and wrong. Christ, and only Christ, offers us the basic reference point of life.

Away from Him–in the darkness of a life that does not have Jesus Christ for a daily companion–we know only confusion, shallowness, and ultimate self-destruction. But if we stay close to Him, we find the true path.

May the upcoming Passiontide, upon which we embark next week, draw us closer to the one and only true standard of judgment and reference point for life.