Wednesday, May 8, 2013
(Acts 17:15.22-18:1; John 16:12-15)
In its Pastoral Constitution on the Church, Vatican II wrestles with the question of atheism. It says that many shut God out of their hearts out of refusal to acknowledge the dictates of their consciences. But it also implicates Christians in the sin of disbelief because we often fail to give testimony to the presence of God by genuinely caring for one another. With this kind of critical reasoning Vatican II exemplifies what Jesus means in today’s gospel.
Jesus tells his disciples that the Spirit Advocate will tell them the things that are coming. Jesus does not mean that there will be a new revelation for he says that the Spirit will reveal what is already Jesus’. What the Spirit will do for the Church, as can be testified in the Vatican II documents, is to interpret current events in light of Jesus’ own teaching.
Much has been said of the “spirit of Vatican II.” Some people think that it is acceptance of almost every proposed change of belief or practice. But such an interpretation defies the work of the council’s fathers who diligently discerned what the Holy Spirit was saying to them by careful deliberation and voting. Certainly Vatican II introduced changes for which we should be grateful. But we must also take care not to misinterpret the spirit of the council as promoting change indiscriminately.