This gospel reading allows us to contemplate this mystery of God, the mystery of the Three in One, the mystery of the Holy Trinity. Fr Adrian Graffy reflects.
12 Jesus said to his disciples:
‘I still have many things to say to you but they would be too much for you now. 13 But when the Spirit of truth comes he will lead you to the complete truth, since he will not be speaking as from himself but will say only what he has learnt; and he will tell you of the things to come. 14 He will glorify me since all he tells you will be taken from what is mine. 15 Everything the Father has is mine; that is why I said: All he tells you will be taken from what is mine.’
Other readings: Proverbs 8:22-31 Psalm 8 Romans 5:1-5
Even though we came to the end of the Easter season with the feast of Pentecost, the atmosphere of celebration continues this Sunday with Trinity Sunday. After the long seasons of Lent and Easter it is as if we pause to contemplate the mystery of God, the mystery of the Three in One, the mystery of the Holy Trinity.
The gospel reading allows us to reflect on this mystery, for Father, Son and Spirit are clearly present in it. The passage is taken from the farewell speeches in the Gospel of John, from which we have read during the Easter season. Jesus is about to leave his disciples to return to the Father.
The Spirit of truth, referred to earlier in John’s gospel as the ‘Advocate’, the one ‘called to be alongside’, will lead the disciples further into the fulness of truth. The presence of the Spirit in the Church allows us to discover new things, new depths which are implicit in the good news of Jesus, but which only with time become clear to us. The Spirit is the guarantor that the Church remains in the truth.
The unity of Father, Son and Spirit is underlined when Jesus says that all that the Spirit speaks will be from him, and all that is from him is from the Father. We are confronted with the beauty of the God who reaches out to us, and the deep mystery of God, which is beyond our capacity to explain.
As St Paul makes clear in the passage from Romans, it is through the reaching out of Jesus Christ that we are at peace with God, and through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that we know our hope in God is sound.
Consider how each of the persons of the Holy Trinity reaches out to us.
What do I need to do to allow the Spirit to lead me ‘to the complete truth’?
Pray for reverence and humility when faced with the mystery of the one, true God.
Pray for those who seek the truth but cannot open their hearts to it.
Rev Dr Adrian Graffy is a member of the Vatican Commission that takes a lead in Bible scholarship, interpretation and promotion in the Catholic Church.
Rev Dr Graffy said of his five-year appointment by Pope Francis in 2014: “It is an honour to be nominated by Pope Francis as a member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. I feel humbled and very much look forward to being of service to His Holiness and the Church.”
He added: “A great deal has been achieved in England and Wales in recent years by many co-workers to advance Biblical scholarship and the provision of easy-to-use resources. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them and the Bishops’ Conference Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis for their efforts to promote understanding and love of the Bible, particularly through the publication of the teaching documents, The Gift of Scripture and the study guide to Verbum Domini, The Word of the Lord.”
Rev Dr Graffy received his doctorate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome in 1983. He taught for over 20 years in St John’s Seminary in Wonersh, and is Chair of the National Scripture Working Group, which is an instrument of the Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. Fr Graffy is a past director of Brentwood’s Commission for Evangelisation and Formation and parish priest of Christ the Eternal High Priest in Gidea Park, Essex. Among his publications are the Gospel of Mark and the Letter to the Romans (Alive Publishing).
Listen to BBC Essex interview with Fr Adrian Graffy