“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.” (John 16:12-15) In today’s reading from John 16, we get another glimpse of God’s “precise love” for us and our own “vulnerabilities”. Jesus doesn’t just dump everything on our head, telling us to ”shape up or ship out”. His intention is for us to do well. Like a good father, he knows “what to say , how to say it, and when to say it”. He goes on to say that at the right time the Holy Spirit will speak more to you.
We need to pay close attention to how Jesus loves. At times he’s very blunt and seemingly “heavy handed” as he tries to wake up the Pharisees. At other times he is very tender as with the woman caught in adultery. Each is delivered perfectly… because Jesus is the Lord. He listens carefully to his Father and speaks what he is told to speak. We need to do the same.
As a parent or older brother/sister we may see a lot in the lives of others … our friends, children, grandchildren. We want to help them. Yet it takes wisdom to know “what to say and when to say it and how to say it”. Saint (Pope) John XXIII once reminded us to “see everything, overlook a great deal, correct a little.”
When the concentration camps of WWII were liberated, wisdom was needed in knowing the type and amount of food to be given to the starving prisoners. “After an extended period of starvation, the ability to process food is severely compromised. Giving too much of the wrong food can even be fatal”. (ref. Refeeding Syndrome) At times giving too much or the wrong information can cause problems.
So, when we’re trying to help someone, to tell them the truth about the Lord and the things of God, we need the Holy Spirit to guide us. It’s often not “the more the better”… trying to explain every nuance of Christ’s teaching, or every dogma, or answering every objection. But, it’s always loving the person with Christ’s love and allowing the Holy Spirit to prompt you as to what to say. And it’s not always easy.
Holy Spirit help us to be attuned to your promptings. May we be at peace as we look to share the “good news” with those around us. Let’s remember that in evangelization, it’s not about us…it’s about introducing someone to the savior…”one beggar showing another beggar where the food is.” And that is very good news.