In this Sunday’s Gospel we hear Jesus promising the Holy Spirit, so we know that Pentecost will soon be here. And like all the great marker points on our calendar over the last two months, Pentecost will find us celebrating in a way so very different than in years past. The coronavirus pandemic challenges us at every turn, raising new questions.
Jesus speaks of the Holy Spirit as “the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows him…” These days the world is scrambling to get a grip on its version of “the truth.” Who’s telling it? Is someone hiding it? There’s the ever-present tendency to think: I have the truth and you don’t, so listen to me so I can tell you!
I go back to Ann Garrido’s book Let’s Talk About Truth (Ave Maria Press, 2020). Ann is steeped in the Dominican tradition, whose motto just happens to be the Latin word for truth, Veritas. Ann concludes the book with a chapter entitled “Truth as a Way of Being in Relationship.” She quotes the great Russian novelist, Dostoevsky: “Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared with love in dreams. Love in dreams is greedy for immediate action, rapidly performed and in the sight of all. Men will even give their lives if only the ordeal does not last long but is soon over…But love is labor and fortitude.”
This Sunday’s readings connect truth with love. Like our present global circumstances, Jesus points toward a long-haul commitment. “I will not leave you orphans,” he says. It is a deep and abiding love that can – if we allow it – lead us in the search for truth and for a healthful and humble way forward.
Fr. Dan ofm, Pastor