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Gospel for Sunday, June 12: John 16: 12-15

Feast of the SS. Trinity C

12I still have many things to tell you, but for the moment you are not capable of carrying the burden. 13When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own, but he will speak everything he hears, and he will tell you the things to come. 14He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and announce it to you. 15All that the Father possesses is mine; that is why I said that he will take from what is mine and he will announce it to you.

John 16: 12-15

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (

Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.

A Church guided by the Spirit

Luke in the Acts mentions “the Holy Spirit” twenty-one times, with the article in Greek (“tò pnèuma tò àghion”), sixteen times he speaks of the “Holy Spirit”, without the article, nine times he speaks of the “Spirit”, without adjective; twice it is said: “the Spirit of the Lord” and once “the Spirit of Jesus”. At least twenty times it is said that Christians are “full of the Holy Spirit”. “In short, one gets the impression that the beginning and expansion of the Christian movement are under the sign of the Holy Spirit” (R. Fabris).

The story of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-40) underlines how the Spirit transforms a closed and fearful community into an evangelizing Church, capable of speaking and being understood by men of all races. Furthermore, the Church becomes the eschatological community of prophets promised to Israel: “I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new Spirit within you” (Ez 36,26-27; cf. Is 44,3-4; Joel 3,1 -2).

The Church is always guided and governed by the Spirit: “The Church… grew and walked in the fear of the Lord, filled with the comfort of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 9,31 This continuous presence of the Spirit allows the apostles to affirm in front of the Sanhedrin: ” We and the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who submit to him, are witnesses of these facts” (Acts 5:32); or to say, together with the elders, after the first “Council of Jerusalem”: “We have decided , the Holy Spirit and us” (Acts 15:28).

“The gift of the Spirit itself is not linked to any human structure or institution, not even to the rite of baptism (Acts 10,44-48)” (R. Fabris). The very “hierarchical” structure of the first Church is the work of the Spirit: Paul reminds the presbyters of Ephesus that “the Holy Spirit has placed you as bishops to shepherd the Church of God, which he purchased with his blood” (Acts 20 ,28).

“In the early Church the presence of the Holy Spirit was an intimate presence in the Church, directive, decision-making, which provided the divine strength necessary for evangelization but which was also the source of wonders and healings… The early Christian Church stands out for its Christocentrism and for its pneumatocentrism, that is, on the awareness of being founded on the Paschal events of the dead and risen Jesus Christ, and on the descent and continued and active presence of the Holy Spirit, received from the Risen One… The Spirit and Christ constitute, therefore, the two transcendent subjects of the Church of the New Testament, subjects that the community has never lost sight of because it is aware that if this happened the Church would lose its very identity. This is truly a basic fact of biblical ecclesiology: the awareness of the New Testament Church of not belonging, in a radical way, to any religious and cultural past, but of proceeding directly from a multiple and shocking action of God, accomplished in Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit” (S. T. Stancati).

Pope Francis states: “In the Creed, immediately after professing faith in the Holy Spirit, we say: «I believe in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church». There is a profound connection between these two realities of faith: it is the Holy Spirit, in fact, who gives life to the Church and guides her steps. Without the presence and incessant action of the Holy Spirit, the Church could not live and could not carry out the task that the risen Jesus entrusted to her of going and making disciples of all peoples (see Mt 28:18)… Who is the real driving force of evangelization in our lives and in the Church? Paul VI wrote clearly: «It is he, the Holy Spirit who, today as at the beginning of the Church, works in every evangelizer who allows himself to be possessed and led by Him»… To evangelize, then, it is necessary once again to open up to the horizon of the Spirit of God, without being afraid of what he asks of us and where he leads us.”

Jesus didn’t tell us everything

“Jesus (Jn 16,12-15) is aware of having narrated, explained (exeghésato: Jn 1,18) God to the disciples…, but he also knows that he could have said many more things. Jesus knows that there is a progressive initiation into the knowledge of God, a growth of this same knowledge, which cannot be given once and for all. The disciple learns to know the Lord every day of his life, “from beginning to beginning, for beginnings that never end” (Gregory of Nyssa). The life of the disciple must be lived for ever greater understanding, and everything that a person experiences (encounters, reality, etc.), through the energy of the Holy Spirit opens a way, deepens knowledge, reveals a meaning. Each of us experiences it: the more we move forward in our personal lives and in our response to the Lord’s call in history, the more we know him! The Gospel is always the same, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb 13.8), it does not change, but we know it better by living our history and the history of the world. This is why Jesus confesses that he did not say everything: he said the essential thing about God, what is enough for salvation, but knowledge is infinite. Now Jesus is in the Kingdom with the Father… New events and realities are illuminated and understood precisely thanks to the presence of the Holy Spirit” (E. Bianchi).

The Spirit will guide you into all truth

The doctrine of the Church is therefore continually evolving until the end of time. This is because “every scribe who has become a disciple of the Kingdom of heaven is like the master of a house who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old” (Mt 13.52). In fact, the Church has received the gift of the Spirit who dynamically guides her to an ever fuller understanding of the mystery of God. The Spirit therefore guides us progressively, day after day, to the “whole truth” (Jn 16:13).

A theology in progress

“Jesus assures us that «when he comes, the Spirit of truth… will tell you… things to come»… The Spirit pushes towards the future. The Spirit does not repeat the things of the past… What does this mean? That the tension of the Christian community towards the ever-changing needs of humanity will lead to the discovery of new capacities for response. In these new responses to the needs of humanity the Spirit of truth emerges. This is the dynamic of the Christian’s life, therefore, always striving towards the new, always ready to give new answers, not the old answers. It is not possible to give ancient answers to today’s needs, but to formulate, invent, create new answers for the needs of humanity” (A. Maggi).

Ortensio da Spinetoli wrote: “Evangelization is not the standardization of New Testament texts, but their rereading, reinterpretation, transposition to the new situations in which man is called to live and to the spiritual maturity to which he has reached. It is always important to remember what Jesus said and did, but even more so what he would say and do if, to help him solve his problems, he turned to the man of today, placed in social and cultural situations very different from his own. . And since he no longer has the possibility of intervening, his followers have the arduous task of updating his message over time. The word of God is not a dead letter but a living one and, like life, capable of growth and adaptation (Heb 4:12)”.

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at


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