The Most Holy Trinity

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Christian theology tells us that the words recorded in the Bible speak to us on two levels – the actual translation or meaning of the words and the spiritual meaning, which is hidden to those not filled with the Spirit. With this in mind, we can explain today’s Gospel passage by saying that the Holy Spirit was with the disciples when Jesus spoke his words to them, but as it was before Pentecost, the Spirit was not yet in them. For this reason, his disciples were not yet ready to understand all that Jesus would like to have them understand.

Most of the time, my musings are on a much more basic level than the deep thinkers of the faith. In this passage, for instance, I am drawn to recall the messages of hope and faith that surrounded the cancer patients I cared for. Some of my favorites include “You cannot see hope, joy, or peace – but you desperately long for these in your heart. You cannot see God, but you know He exists, and your heart longs to be loved and accepted fully by Him,” and “God makes a promise. Faith believes His promise. Hope anticipates its fulfillment. Patience quietly waits.”

Another powerful thought seems particularly appropriate to today’s reading. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Faith is taking the first step even though you don’t see the whole staircase.” Jesus told his disciples to have faith and trust in God. They might not like the ending they saw, but that was because they weren’t ready to see the whole picture – the entire staircase. It’s the same with us each day of our lives.

Years ago, when I helped my father through his final days with cancer, I could only see the pain and the loss we were going through. Now I see more of the staircase: I deepened my faith and gained a tremendous amount of strength by going through the ordeal. It has been a strength that has helped me through this past year’s ordeal as cancer struck my husband. If God had told me then that I would need the experience of being a cancer caregiver, I’m not sure I could have born it. I wasn’t ready to see the whole staircase; I just needed help making one step at a time.

Perhaps there is a need to be filled with the Spirit to interpret the words of the scripture, but I can be content with knowing God loves and accepts me, and that He will fulfill His promise to draw me in as His own child. I will hold on to hope and patiently wait for God to make everything clear to me in His time.

Linda Crowley