You cannot bear it now

Greetings on this the Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Readings: Acts 17:15, 22—18:1; PS 148:1-2, 11-12, 13, 14; Jn 16:12-15
Note: from the editors of NABRE – In Paul’s appearance at the Areopagus he preaches his climactic speech to Gentiles in the cultural center of the ancient world. The speech is more theological than christological.

Note Two: Our Pentecost Novena begins Friday in preparation for Pentecost. I typed out the customary prayers for receiving the Holy Spirit. Find it here: Prayers to the Holy Spirit

First Reading
In our first reading today, Paul is in Athens at the Areopagus talking to an impromptu gathering of people. Paul preached while standing at the top of the hill. By this time the city was a traditional place to learn philosophical truth.

For the listeners, most of them except a few, the long tradition of religion and philosophy have already taken us the space of ‘knowing the answer’. By and large they listened politely if not outright dismissing Paul and his proposition.

It was the first and major attempt to dislodge the Greek Philosophical view.

But they could not bear it “now”.

Sometimes we have sophisticated view or well established theories of what is truth. It is very difficult to dislodge the preconceived notions of truth and listen to the word preached.

Gospel Portion
In the gospel portion today, the Apostles suffered a similar problem. Jesus said to them, I have much to tell you but you cannot bear it now.

We know the Apostles were grieving deeply over the passion predictions, the literal army of people looking to harm Jesus and them and the idea that Jesus will be leaving them in a way too terrible to contemplate.

They were full of anticipatory grief.
They could not bear it “now”.

The Spirit of truth will come and help you understand, Jesus promised.

Patience
God is patient and his patience is oriented toward our conversion.

He does not force truth upon us but rather has the Holy Spirit gently guide us.

He will declare what is of Jesus, recapitulate his teaching and continue the invitation to the inner life of God.

You cannot bear it now
But why?

  • Do you have sophisticated view or well established theories of what is truth? Is it very difficult to dislodge the preconceived notions of truth and listen to the word preached?
  • Are you in deep grief, actual grief or anticipatory grief? Is your heart bruised so that you only want to protect it from further harm?

Those are the two extremes: I got it, or I lost it.

Don’t worry.
God will not force anything on you but has rather sent the Holy Spirit gently guide us.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

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