“The spirit of truth will testify to me, says the Lord; and you also will testify” (Jn 15:26-27).  

The solemnities of the Most Holy Trinity and the Body & Blood of Christ early in June remind us, as we step into the liturgical season of Ordinary Time, that our life as living missionary disciples is anchored by the Spirit of truth. It is the truth of Jesus Christ we respond to in prayer, word and deed by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit. The 12th and 13th Sundays in Ordinary Time reveal the power of God’s kindness and mercy given to those who testify to the truth.  

The truth of a prophet  

Life_Giving Faith.pdf

We hear the testimony of the prophet Jeremiah as he faces persecution from those whom God called him to serve. He hears the “whispers” of a planned entrapment in order to stop his preaching. Why do they want to silence Jeremiah’s preaching? Called by God, there rises from the depths of Jeremiah the mission to proclaim the truth: the king, the people and all of Judah are called to repent, to put aside sinful lives and turn back to God with their entire being, otherwise they will face the consequences of their ungodly ways. Naturally they did not want to hear this since they could not see with their hearts the error of their ways. So God, who is goodness, kindness and mercy, sends Jeremiah to warn the leaders as well as the people. Their response: rejection, ignorance, mockery, revenge, “silence this one.” 

Jesus is the fullness of truth, the message of the prophets, to return to God. If we are called to be missionary disciples, we then answer the call to be a prophet, a living witness of truth. Our prayer, words and deeds are to manifest the truth of Jesus Christ, even if this means facing persecution; even if it means stepping out of our comfort zone; even if we think we are not equipped. St. John writes “the Spirit of truth will testify to me says the Lord; and you also will testify” (Jn 15:26-27). By the grace of the Holy Spirit we are able to grow in a deeper awareness of truth through the gifts of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, fortitude, piety and fear (amazement) of the Lord which help us proclaim the truth with humility, confidence and peace.  

Ultimately, these gifts bear fruit which fortify the witness of truth. Paragraph 1832 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, “The fruits of the Spirit are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory. The tradition of the church lists 12 of them: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity. Calling upon the Spirit of truth, we acknowledge we rely solely upon the Holy Spirit in our role as prophet. The holy people of God share also in Christ’s prophetic office,” above all in the supernatural sense of faith that belongs to the whole people, lay and clergy, when it “unfailingly adheres to this faith … once for all delivered to the saints, and when it deepens its understanding and becomes Christ’s witness in the midst of this world” (Catechism Para. 735).  

The courage to testify  

Jesus said to the Twelve Apostles: “Fear no one” (Mt 10:26). Fear paralyzes, courage energizes. St. John Paul II during the opening homily of his pontificate said, “Brothers and sisters, do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power. Help the pope and all those who wish to serve Christ and with Christ’s power to serve the human person and the whole of mankind. Be not afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ” (St. Peter’s Square, Sunday, Oct 22, 1978). By welcoming the truth of Christ, we are empowered to be courageous witnesses of the living word of God, in sacraments, catechesis and mission. Prayer. Word. Deed. Thus, we are to courageously center our lives on Jesus Christ and open the doors of Christ to all.  

A cup of cold water  

The sacrament of baptism plunges us into the waters of the life and death of Jesus Christ, the door of salvation. St. Paul explains, “Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life” (Rom 3-4). Thus, we are together, one humanity, in the everyday journey to eternity. Each day we are called to holiness. If Jesus conquered sin and death for us, then we can conquer whatever we experience on this journey together. We receive the Lord, in baptism and Eucharist, then GO OUT and share his word in mission in order to form other disciples to follow Jesus and grow in holiness. Yes, even the simple act of giving a cup of cold water to another will refresh their physical thirst, as well as their soul (Mt 10:42). Be Christ to others. Be a courageous prophet for others. Be a witness of truth for others. Be present to others, that all may be one, as we are one in the body of Christ, the Spirit of truth.  

Dow is the director of Evangelization and Catechesis for the Diocese of Baton Rouge.