Corruption - A reflection on John 16:12-15
It is time for Jesus to go to heaven. The disciples are a worried, confused, fearful lot,
but Jesus tells them that it is good that he goes, because then he would send the
Holy Spirit. In his incarnation as a human, Jesus was limited by time and space, so
he couldn’t be everywhere at all times. The Holy Spirit, however, would have no such
restriction, which means he can be with all of us, all the time. Please do note that I
used the pronoun “he” — just as Jesus did — because we should think of the Holy
Spirit in personal terms.
Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would guide us into all truth, which is what he
does—but we would be wise to remember that he has been doing this with men and
women for the past two thousand years ever since he descended upon the apostles
on the day of Pentecost.
The apostles and their successors helped to lay the doctrinal foundations of the
church after much discussion and prayer, and these remained true for hundreds of
There cannot be variations on the truth, especially contradictory ones, and we would,
again, be wise to make note of this fact, because in the name of the Holy Spirit, the
church has become increasingly fragmented. How does that make any sense? The
Holy Spirit is a spirit of unity, not division. One of Jesus’ greatest concerns was unity
(see John 17). It was one of Paul’s concerns too (see Ephesians 4:2-3). It should be
the concern of any believer who loves Jesus, because his body cannot be divided.
Now I am a Catholic, and I hold to the teachings of the Catholic Church because I
believe it is the original Church that Jesus founded, but I have realized that over the
past several years the teachings of the Church are being distorted by those who
preach in its name. How can we continue to claim we have the fullness of the faith
with many who are starting to preach their own theories, often heretical? What are
the faithful to do? Who are they supposed to listen to? This is when the Holy Spirit
plays an important role, because he will guide us into the truth.
So whenever you listen to something that somebody says—and that is everybody
who preaches, including me—do what the Bereans did. “They welcomed the
message (they heard from Paul) very eagerly (but) examined the scriptures every
day to see whether these things were so (Acts 17:11). You make sure you have two
books with you: the Bible and the Catechism. And don’t believe a word, unless you
validate it for yourself through these two books.
Those who corrupt the truth will hate me for it; but everybody else will thank me for it.