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Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit to guide the Church through time. “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.”

Since Jesus is the Son is God, it is impossible for us adequately to interpret him through our own powers of perception. We require a divine pedagogue through which the speech of the Father is to be understood. This is the advocate we call the Holy Spirit.

The words of today’s Gospel are almost unbearably profound, for they speak not only of the inner life of God but of the central dynamic of the Church’s life. The Father indeed spoke the fullness of his life, being, and truth in the Son, but the Church, in its earliest days, was incapable of taking that fullness in.

What was (and still is) required is the ongoing influence of the Spirit, the divine interpreter of the Word, who does his work gradually and powerfully as the Church journeys across space and time.