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Gospel for Sunday, June 5: John 14: 15-16. 23-26

Pentecost C

15If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16I will pray to the Father and he will give you another Comforter to remain with you forever… 23If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24He who does not love me does not observe my words; the word that you hear is not mine, but of the Father who sent me. 25These things I told you when I was still among you. 26But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything that I have told you.

John 14: 15-16. 23-26

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

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

SAYING THE SPIRIT IN SCRIPTURE

The Hebrew word to indicate the spirit is “rùah”, which in the Greek Old Testament is translated into “pneuma” 264 times out of 377 (in other cases it is rendered as “ànemos”). “Rùah” can mean the wind (Gen 8.1; Am 4.13; Ps 104.4…), which appears, mysterious as it is, as if directly produced by God; or it designates the breath, the vital energy (Zc 12,1; Is 42,5…) or the soul in its various states (Gen 41,8; 1 Sam 1,15; Ps 51,14… ): but in any case God is at the origin, because he is the “God of the spirits that are in all flesh” (Nm 16,22; 27,16; cf. Job 12,10). In the “rùah” therefore, both in a cosmological sense (the wind) and an anthropological one (the vital spirit), the prodigious presence of God himself is manifested.

In most cases in the Bible, the Spirit is therefore represented as a force, which however has its own intellectual activity. “Especially in the fourth Gospel the Holy Spirit is described in the form of a divine person, distinct from the Father and the Son… Very significant, in this sense, is the use of the male pronoun «ekèinos», «he» (Jn 16, 8-15), although the subject «pneuma» is neutral” (E. Kamlah).

In any case, it is impossible to see the Spirit, but we can perceive it by its actions: we “hear its voice”, even if we do not know “whence it comes or where it is going” (Jn 3:8).

COME, CREATOR SPIRITUS

We are used to thinking of creation as the work of the Father alone: nothing could be more wrong: creation is in fact a Trinitarian event. Not only the Father participates in it, but also the Son:

“All things were made through him, and without him nothing was made that was made” (Jn 1.3; cf. 1 Cor 8.6; Col 1.15-17; Eph 1.3-4; Heb 1,2…); and the Holy Spirit also takes part in it, who from the beginning hovers over the waters (Gen 1,2) and who creates everything: “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, by the breath of his mouth all their hosts” (Sl 33.6).

Not only did the Spirit participate in the primordial creation, but he continually creates us, making us exist at all times: “Take away their spirit and they die… You send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth” (Ps 104 ,29-30); “If he … called his Spirit to himself and withdrew his breath to himself, all flesh would die instantly and man would return to dust” (Job 34.14-15; Ez 37.9-10.14). Let us never forget that the Christian concept of creation ex nihilo implies his absolute gratuitousness: God creates us only out of love, to have within us a partner of love. And this is why the Holy Spirit, who is the Love of God, has a fundamental role in our existence in every moment. Immersed in the mystery of the Love of God, man’s life, even if marked by illness, suffering, sin, in any case has a meaning, because it is a gift of love; she is pervaded by an intrinsic Strength that always supports and consoles her, the Spirit of Love of God; and it has a precise direction: to respond in love to God’s offer, madly in love with men. This establishes our joyful “hope that does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Rom 5:5).

“Your incorruptible Spirit is in all things” (Wis 12.1): this is the clear perception that many peoples, throughout their history, have always had: “ruah” for the Jews, “pneuma” for the Greeks, “ spiritus” for the Latins, “mana” for the Melanesians, “wakan” for the Dakota redskins, “shi” for the Chinese, “ki” for the Asians, “axè” for some African people… The Spirit is “reality energy that fills the expanding cosmic spaces…, is the vital environment, the biosphere… Since the biosphere is intimately linked to the hydrosphere, the lithosphere and the geosphere, we can conclude, that the “ruah”, as the Scriptures say , «fills the universe» (Wis 1,7)” (L. Boff). The Spirit is the cosmic force, it is the energy that presides over cosmogenesis since it hovered over the waters of original chaos (Gen 1.2).

Saying then that “God is Spirit” (Jn 4.24) means moving away from the static conception of a God as an “immobile mover” of Aristotelian memory to move on to contemplate a God who is a disruptive force, explosion, passion, energy, and at the same time wonderful order and rationality underlying the entire universe, dynamic rule of the existence of the infinitely large (the passing of the seasons, the motions of the stars…) and the infinitely small (the life of the cell, the atom, the protons and neutrons…).

We are here at the true foundation of a theology of ecology: “whether we are dealing with primordial energies, galaxies and conglomerates of galaxies, billions of stars with their respective planets, organic and inorganic beings, intelligent and extremely complex beings: all they come from the same Spirit that permeates them all, infusing them with movement and radiation and filling them with promises to be fulfilled in the future” (L. Boff). The Spirit is “ubique diffusus, transfusus and circumfusus”, as the Church Fathers said. The world is therefore full of Spirit, which emerges in rivers, in mountains, in winds, in cities, in animals, in men. An oriental poem expresses it well: “The Spirit sleeps in the stone, dreams in the flower, wakes up in the animal and knows it is awake in the human being”.

Let’s be clear, we are far from the various pantheisms, that is, we are not saying that everything is God: we are rather faced with a “pan – en – theism”, that is, the permanent presence of the Spirit in all things: true, profound presence, to the point that the Spirit has also, like the Son, self-exiled in creation, and with it rejoices and suffers, groans and awaits the final liberation (Rm 8,19-24). Everything therefore speaks to us about the Spirit, everything announces it to us: and we must become capable of seeing it in the germinal energy of the cosmos, in the life of plants and animals, in the human being who is its bearer in a particular way, not only as Spirit vital but unique, as a Spirit infused “in the image and likeness” of God himself (Gen 1.27; 2.7); and above all in the prophets, in the charismatic leaders, in the Saints, in the artists and poets, in those people who we recognize as “inspired”, with a special “presence of the Spirit”. Furthermore, we must contemplate the Spirit in all that is new and fresh (Gen 1.2; Mt 1.20; Rom 1.4; 1 Tim 3.16; Acts 2.32), a force of synthesis and unity, and at the same time energy of differentiation and pluralism (1 Cor 12.7-13), in everything that is communication and relationship (Acts 2.11), which is the capacity for profound meaning and transcendence (Jn 6.63).

And if the Spirit is life, the opposite of life is not matter, but death: “Spirituality” will then passionately orient one’s entire existence to oppose the logic of death present in the current world, committing oneself to promoting every form of life, of everyone and on every occasion, starting from those lives most threatened and oppressed, in which the Holy Spirit “is dejected” and “saddened” (1 Thess 5.19; Eph 4.30).

Happy Mercy to all!

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

Source

Spazio Spadoni

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