Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter
(Acts 14:19-28; John 14:27-31a)
In the third century the priest Arius exploited a clause in today’s gospel reading. He claimed that when Jesus said, “…the Father is greater than I,” he was admitting that he was not God. The argument was eventually rejected by the bishops at Nicea, who believed that in this passage Jesus was referring to his humanity, not his divinity. Much later, the bishops assembled for the Second Vatican Council criticized the use of Scripture as a tool to prove different theological positions. In their view, the purpose of Scripture is to facilitate the human encounter with God.
It is wise to be aware that, as Shakespeare wrote, “The devil can cite Scripture for his own purpose.” The sacred writing should not be used as a sword to tear apart another’s argument. Rather we read it to know God. Its message assures us of his care for us. As Jesus indicates in the selection at hand, God’s care brings us true peace.