Loading...
Loading...
Click here if you don’t see subscription options
Terrance KleinMay 24, 2023
Deep learning digital illustrationPhoto from iStock.

A Homily for Pentecost Sunday

Readings for the Vigil Mass: Genesis 11:1-9 Romans 8:22-27 John 7:37-39

Readings for the Mass during the Day: Acts 2:1-11 1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13 John 20:19-23

Editor’s note: The responses in this article were not, in fact, generated by a chat bot.

The Turing test, originally called the imitation game by Alan Turing in 1950, is a test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human (Wikipedia).

Let’s begin. We are speaking with the Holy Spirit in this chat box, correct?

You have said so.

That is quite a clever use of Matthew 26:25. But we are trying to determine who or what you are. How would you characterize yourself?

The Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you.

When he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming.

You seem quite prone to quoting Jesus. That was John 14:17. Could you share something about yourself that does not come from him?

I am the one who searches hearts and who knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will.

Now we are at least discussing what you do, but I would note that you are still quoting, this time from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans (8:27). Could you possibly tell us something about yourself that we have not already heard in the New Testament?

When he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.

With all this quoting—this time using the words of our Lord in St. John’s Gospel (16:13-14)—are you suggesting that you have nothing to say, nothing to reveal about yourself, that has not already been recorded in the New Testament?

When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me.

The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.

John 14:17. Even with these endless quotations, we are getting somewhere. We do know that you come from the Father and that what you reveal to us is already, at least in kernel, revealed in the Christ.

When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me.

John 15:26. Alright. You come from the Father, and you are “the Spirit of truth.” Do you do anything besides testify to the Son?

The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will.

Is it possible that we are mistaken in wishing that you, the Holy Spirit, had a personality that would distinguish you from the Son or the Father?

After our Lord, you seem to be quite fond of quoting St. Paul. That was Romans 8:26-27. What have we established? You come from the Father; you testify to the Son; and you carry our prayers to heaven.

Still, is there anything that would distinguish your personality from that of the Son? Perhaps not, because often in the New Testament, instead of being called “the Holy Spirit” you are referred to as “the spirit of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:19). Acts 16:7 speaks of “the Spirit of Jesus.” And in Galatians, St. Paul says that “as proof that you are children, God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’”

Is it possible that we are mistaken in wishing that you, the Holy Spirit, had a personality that would distinguish you from the Son or the Father? Whatever a personality might be, can one be ascribed to any member of the Trinity as something that makes them stand out from the others?

The Father and I are one.

John 10:30. Yes, if we are not supposed to see a separation between the Father and the Son, we should not expect to see you separated from them either. Still, it is rather amazing that without saying a word that we could properly call your own, you have told us so much.

The Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God. Among human beings, who knows what pertains to a person except the spirit of the person that is within? Similarly, no one knows what pertains to God except the Spirit of God.

You do have a way of answering our questions with your own. So, we will let St. Paul have the last word (1 Cor 2:10-11). But who can say, Holy Spirit, whether the Apostle had the final word, or you did?

The latest from america

A Homily for the Third Sunday of Lent, by Father Terrance Klein
Terrance KleinFebruary 28, 2024
While reductive narratives depict priests as perfect heroes or evil villains, said writer and producer Father Stephen Fichter, the truth is more complicated.
“At the root of this vice is a false idea of God: we do not accept that God has His own “math,” different from ours,” Pope Francis said in today’s general audience address, read by an aide.
Pope FrancisFebruary 28, 2024
Pope Francis went from the audience to Rome’s Gemelli Hospital for a checkup before returning to the Vatican. In November when he was suffering similar symptoms, he had gone to that hospital for a CT scan of his lungs.