In the readings today, we learn that you and I can relate to someone more effectively than leaders like Carl Jung or the great psychologists of the world. Before speaking of that, let me show you how our readings lead us to that point.
The Psalm 104:25-35, 37 (like Proverbs 8), speaks of the work of the Holy Spirit in creation, and in nurturing creation. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is actively present in our own existence and in everything and every person we can see and know. This includes urging the world towards social justice, as in the Holy Spirit working through the life of Oscar Romero of San Salvador.
The reading from Romans 8:22-27 makes it clear that the Holy Spirit is active in us in enabling us to pray to God, which we cannot do without the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit inspired the holy Scriptures, and ensures their dissemination.
I am sure you can finish this sentence: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I…” (Ps 23). So you can see how the Holy Spirit comforts and strengthens and heals us for example through the Scriptures every day up to our last moment on earth.
The Holy Spirit is active in the Holy Communion, sanctifying the bread and wine, and sanctifying us who receive the Body and Blood of Christ.
The Holy Spirit gives us hope for the future. Without the Holy Spirit, surely the martyrs and all Christians would give up before the end.
In our resurrection, the Holy Spirit presents us perfect to God, without spot or wrinkle.
In our reading from John’s Gospel today (15:26-27; 16:4b-15), however, the emphasis is not on the above, but rather, upon the way the Holy Spirit enables us to testify to God’s mission on earth, through Jesus Christ. It resonates with Acts 2:1-21. The Holy Spirit wants all of us to witness to God’s purpose. But I think everyone hearing these words finds it an immense challenge either to know or else to know how to witness to God’s purpose.
Here’s one way: Each of us meets many people each week. At each such meeting we can imagine the presence not only of us and the other person, but also, the presence of the Holy Spirit. Not two people, but three. The Holy Spirit can pray in us to God through Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit can help us understand and relate to the other person through prompting us when to be silent, or when to speak; what to say and what to do.
At the start I said that you and I can relate to an individual we meet more effectively than leaders — say, Winston Churchill or the great motivational speakers of the world. Why can we believe that? It is because God makes us near that person we meet, and personally present to them. Also, as we envision and open ourselves to the presence of the Holy Spirit, God’s own healing love reaches out to them through the Holy Spirit in us.
Not two people, but three. Try this again and again this week, and expect to see God at work in each encounter you have. Not two people, but three. Let God’s power flow. Amen.