Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter
(Acts 17:15.22-18.1; John 16:12-15)
“Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night: God said, ’Let Newton be!’ and all was light.” With these words Alexander Pope honored Isaac Newton, the renowned English physicist. Newton’s Principia Mathematica described the laws of motion in the seventeenth century. The work was considered infallible until Einstein reformulated the laws in terms of relativity. It cannot be said that Newton actually discovered the laws, which are more or less self-evident. But he did explain them so that the world might understand their dynamics. His work may be compared to how Jesus describes the role of the Spirit in today’s gospel.
When Jesus says that the Spirit “will declare to you the things that are coming,” he is referring to his death and resurrection. Because the significance of this paschal event is beyond human intelligence, they need an interpreter. Jesus cannot explain them because the disciples have not yet experienced them. He has already declared himself to be “the truth.” Now he says the Spirit will guide the disciples to “all truth”; that is, the full meaning of himself.
The Spirit must be active in our lives if we are experience the effects of Jesus’ redemption. The Spirit moves us from attachment to the superficial delights of creation, sets our hearts on eternal life, and propels us to give of ourselves in love so that we may achieve our heart’s desire. The Spirit is an unimaginable, completely gratuitous gift that the Father sends us through Jesus.