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The Spirit carrying out God’s project

The first reading narrates the project of the Father in creation. In the second reading it is explained that this project is carried out by the Son, but we do not yet know that the path to salvation will be not only strange, but even absurd. That is why the Spirit’s work is necessary. Only he can lead us to adhere to the project of the Father and the work of the Son.

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The Spirit— hope of a new world

We are at the Last Supper and Jesus promises not to leave the disciples alone, without protection and without guidance. 

He will pray to the Father, and he “will send another Paraclete” that will remain with them forever (v.16). It is the promise of the gift of that Spirit that Jesus possessed
in fullness (Luke 4:1,14,18) and that will be poured out on the disciples.

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The reasons for hope and joy

Luke’s Gospel ends with the story of the Ascension (vv. 50-53). Before entering the glory of the Father, Jesus blesses the disciples (v.51). 

At the end of the liturgical celebrations in the temple, the priest came out of the holy place and pronounced a solemn blessing on the faithful gathered for prayer (Sirach 50:20). After the blessing they returned to their jobs, confident that the Lord would bring to fruition all their efforts and all their hard work. 

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The Spirit jogging memories

In the latter part of today’s gospel Jesus promises the Holy Spirit will come, “The helper will teach you all things and remind you of all that I have told you” (v.26).

There are two functions of the Spirit. Let’s start from the first, to teach.

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The good shepherd

When we talk about Jesus the Good Shepherd, the first image that comes to mind is that of the Master who holds a lamb in his arms or on his shoulders. 

It is true: Jesus is the good shepherd who goes out of his way in  search of his lost sheep, but this is a reproduction of the parable found in the gospel of Luke (15:4-8).

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A land where disciples are invited to come

John, the evangelist, narrates another manifestation of the Risen Lord to his disciples and this episode is full of symbolism.

There are seven occupants in the boat. This number represents perfection, completeness. Peter and the other six represent all the disciples who make up the entire Christian community. 

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Hard to believe what cannot be seen

The doubt of Thomas is proverbial. It is often said of someone who shows mistrust. “You’re a Doubting Thomas.” 

Yet, in hindsight, he seems to have done nothing wrong. Was Thomas really the only one to have doubts, while the other disciples readily and immediately believed in the Risen One? It does not seem that’s how things went.

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Add no more evil to sin

A woman caught in the act of adultery is brought to Jesus to be judged. Jesus could get out of trouble in a very simple way: by inviting the accusers to address the legitimate judges. 

The court of the Sanhedrin is not more than a 100 metres away. But this would mean abandoning the woman that the defenders of public morality now consider a trophy, a prey.

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Skewed thinking on righteousness

Here is the most beautiful of all the parables of the gospels. Jesus’ introduction explains the reason he narrated the parable. 

He is not appealing to sinners, but to the righteous: “Tax collectors and sinners were seeking the company of Jesus. But the Pharisees and scribes frowned on this, muttering, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them’” (vv.1-3). 

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Third Week of Lent

Call to radical conversion

Today’s gospel reading speaks of an episode of Pilate’s cruelty. Some pilgrims came from Galilee to offer sacrifice in the temple.