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May 16th, Sixth Sunday of Easter Jn 14/23-29
Catholic Homilies

May 16th, 2004

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Sixth Sunday of Easter Jn 14/23-29


  John’s Gospel obviously displays a much more developed theology then the three synoptic gospels. However, it was still written early in the so-called sub-apostolic time. The remarkable fact is not that there is a strong theological slant to it. Rather it is surprising how relatively early in the history of the early Church a strong Trinitarian perspective has emerged. The trajectory towards Nicea and the other early councils has already been set, though the elaborate explanations have yet to appear. Associated with God even by the time of St. John are Jesus, and the Father, and the Paraclete, the advocate, the teacher, the protector, the guarantor of the peace that Jesus has given. Already we have hints that God is a community of relationships, that there is so much knowledge and love in God that the knowledge and love explode into distinct personages. This truth is revealed to test our faith, not to provide theologians with raw material for their speculations (though there is nothing wrong with that), but to dazzle us with the brightness of God’s glory, the power of God’s knowledge and the passion of God’s love. The use of the word “spirit,” a translation of the Hebrew word Shekenah hints at a maternal protection in God because the word is feminine in Hebrew – and was used in Hebrew folk religion as the name of Yahweh’s consort. St. John had no thought of such matters, yet the gender of the noun might well be part of the meaning “in front of the text.”


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  Once upon a time there was a high school with very serious problems. The students (all boys, needless to say) were out of control and over the top. They smoked, they drank, they did drugs and all on the school campus. They hassled teachers, they shouted racial epithets at basketball games, they spread graffiti all over the school walls, the cursed at school administrators, they fought in the corridors. The religious order which ran the school had a long history of imposing discipline by physical force. The headmaster was a tough man who had struck terror into the hearts of the students at other high schools. They laughed at him. When he hit a student, the student hit him back. The student was expelled of course, but disrespect for the administration, the faculty and everything about the school continued unabated. So the order brought in one of its younger members to be the new head master. Veterans in both the order and the school ridiculed the appointment. The new man was nice enough, but he wasn’t tough. The school required a hard man instead the new head master was gentle, kind, even tempered, almost, said some of the worst cynics, womanly. Well, he wandered kind of aimlessly around the school, talked to  the students, stood in the corridors looking kind of confused, laughed at their jokes and told jokes that they laughed at (even though they didn’t quite understand him literate wit). Before anyone knew what had happened he had charmed even the wildest of the hoods. The word went out that the new headmaster was like totally cool. The school settled down to mayhem no worse than that any all-male high school. You catch a lot of honey with flies, the new headmaster said.

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The school settled down to mayhem no worse than that any all-male high school. You catch a lot of honey with flies, the new headmaster said

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