Sara Pekar, Pastoral Associate – 17 December 2018
Today Ricky fielded several questions about the Holy Spirit, Scripture, and the life of Jesus.
Yes! The Holy Spirit is real, and working in the lives of Christians today. We hear repeatedly about the Spirit of God throughout Scripture, from the very beginning of the Creation accounts until Christ’s ascension, when He tells of a paraclete who is coming. We hear about the Spirit of God alive in the early Church and in the letters of Paul. Though probably the most misunderstood person of the Trinity, the Church has long-held the Holy Spirit to be God. Ricky gives us some great words to describe the Holy Spirit – protector, defender, and guide. And because of this, we believe in the divine inspiration of Scripture. Ricky tells us that while the authors of the Bible were in fact human, their writing was inspired by the Holy Spirit, because of their willingness to submit themselves to His will. Their own unique human traits and skills give the Bible its style and form, but the divine truths conveyed by its stories and writings are indeed bathed in the wisdom and revelation of God.
Ricky was also asked about the life of Christ. We learn in the third chapter of Luke that Jesus was “around 30” when he began his ministry, and most scholars agree that Christ’s ministry lasted about 3 years. Traditionally, this length of time has been determined by facts from the Gospel of John – such as Jesus’ presence at three Passover feasts (John 2:13, 6:4, 11:55;-57).
There is no reason to believe that Jesus was married or had children, and the claim that Jesus had brothers or sisters is also unfounded. Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55–56, as well as others, do reference “brothers of Jesus” and “sons of Mary”, but most Christian scholars understand this to mean either children of Joseph from a previous marriage, Jesus’ cousins, or the children of the “other” Mary, one of his followers who is present at the crucifixion.
Finally, Ricky spoke about ecumenical, or inter-religious, dialogue, and reminds us of an important task and trait to grow in: the quality of our listening. True, “The sole Church of Christ is that which our Savior, after his Resurrection, entrusted to Peter’s pastoral care, commissioning him and the other apostles to extend and rule it…This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in the Catholic Church” (Lumen gentium para. 8 sect. 2), and yet this should not be a reason or excuse to refrain from conversation and friendship with those in other faith traditions. We come to more fully understand our world and our faith, and grow in authentic charity through being in genuine relationship with others. Thank you Ricky for your thoughtful responses and desire to grow in Christian unity.
I hope everyone’s third week of Advent is full of Gaudete joy!