Who can teach me the Holy Bible

"Where two or three are gathered in my name ..." (Mt 18:20) - The Holy Spirit as the inner teacher

Let us pray!
Come Holy Spirit, Spirit of Truth, of Love, enlighten our understanding, strengthen our will, dwell in our memory, guide us into all truth, which is Christ our Lord, amen.

In his farewell speeches, which he held the night before his suffering in the Upper Room, Jesus says: "But the supporter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of everything I do told you "(Jn 14:26). Today, two weeks before Pentecost, I would like to contemplate with you this teacher, the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus promised, the "inner teacher", as Augustine says, the "other assistant", as Jesus also calls him. Jesus promised to give it on Easter and Pentecost. And he doesn't stop giving it to us, the "Parakletos". Parakletos can be translated as lawyer, advocate, advocate, but also comforter. Jesus instructed the apostles to make disciples and disciples of all nations, to baptize them and to teach them to obey everything "that I have commanded you" (Mt 28:20).
That is exactly what the Holy Spirit does - the apostles and the Holy Spirit; we and the Holy Spirit. Everything will be taught by the Holy Spirit. He will remember everything. You can then everything teach what Jesus told them to do when the Holy Spirit has taught them everything. For how are we supposed to teach everything that Jesus has asked us to do if we do not know everything? Isn't it strange that us everything met so openly in the Bible, already on the first page? It would be worthwhile to get the whole Bible on the word here everything to look through. "And God saw everything at what he had done, and it was very good ", it says at the end of the creation account (Gen 1:31). And at the very end of the Bible in the book of Revelation of John it says again:" See, I do everything new "(Rev 21: 5).


In the last catechesis I spoke of Cardinal Ratzinger's New Year's Eve sermon from 1979, where he looked at the scriptural text from the first letter of John. There John speaks of the anointing, i.e. of the Holy Spirit, which the believers received. They do not need any instruction, says Johannes, "because they know everything and the anointing teaches them everything". But we have many other places where this "everything" is mentioned. I recall, for example, Jesus' exultation, when he praised the Father, the Lord of heaven and earth, that he "hid all this from the wise and clever, but revealed it to minors" (Mt 11:25). And at the Lord's Supper he said to his disciples: "But I have called you friends, for I have told you everything that I have heard from my Father" (Jn 15:15).
Do we really know everything? Did Jesus tell us everything, did not everything reach us? Have we perhaps not understood everything that Jesus told us to do? But you can only teach what you know and, above all, you can only teach what you understand. Did we understand everything? If the teacher does not understand what he is teaching, should he really teach? But who of us already knows everything? Let alone understand everything? If what Paul tells us is not our reality, "our knowledge is piecemeal" (1 Cor 13: 9). He goes on to say: "Now we look in a mirror and see only puzzling outlines, but then we look face to face. Now I know imperfectly, but then I will know through and through, just as I am through and through "(1 Cor 13:12)? He differentiates between now and then: "Now we walk in faith, then in sight", now our understanding is piecemeal, then we will see him as he is and will understand everything, now we are on the way.
Pope Benedict XVI said this impressively at the meeting of religions in Assisi, to which he also invited some agnostics. He said that we are all pilgrims on the way to the truth. How should we, as pilgrims on the way, "teach everything that Jesus has asked us to do"? The tension is painful. On the one hand, we believe that the whole truth is entrusted to us, not just small pieces. Jesus revealed everything to us, there is no secret revelation for a few who then know a little more, while the others know less, just maybe a very selected few know everything. Jesus says: "I have revealed to you everything that I have received from the Father". Everything is entrusted to us. Paul says in Romans: "How should he, who gave us his own son, not give us everything with him?" (Rom 8:32). So we got it all, but do we already have it? Has it seized us in such a way that we are completely seized and seized by it? Didn't Jesus himself point out to us that there is still a way to go? We have received everything, but we do not understand everything. He expressly says in the farewell speeches: "I still have much to say to you, but you cannot now grasp it" (Jn 12: 16-17). Then he goes on to say: "But when that one comes, the spirit of truth, he will lead you into the whole truth", literally: "lead you on the way in all truth". One can literally translate this as he will give you "guidance into all truth". So Jesus himself says that the truth is given, but we cannot yet fully grasp it. We cannot yet carry it in full, we still have to be led into it. That is why he sent the Holy Spirit. But again: what is the truth? Not a theory, but a person. Jesus said to the Apostle Thomas: "I am the way, the truth and the life" (Jn 14: 6). But we need a guide, we need someone to take us by the hand and lead us there. Because we are pilgrims, seekers, we are on the way. We go the way of faith. The Council reminds us that Mary, Mother of God, herself walked the path of faith. And Pope John Paul II adds: "... and she went through the night of faith". We only understand in part, but we are not left alone on this path. "I will not leave you orphans", says Jesus, "I will come back to you" (Jn 14:18). He does not only say this about the last second coming, when he returns in the glory of heaven with his angels, at the Last Judgment at the end of times, not even at the end of our lives, when we meet Him in personal judgment and Him as our judge and Meet rescuers. I come to you already now. He is already realizing his promise, keeping what he has promised: "I am with you every day ..." (Mt 28:20). It does not say: I will be with you, but: I am with you!
But how does that happen? How do we find out? What is the work of the Holy Spirit like? How can it be experienced? How does the Holy Spirit teach us everything Jesus promised? St. Augustine developed this in the teaching of the "magister interior", the "inner teacher". The Holy Spirit is he who teaches us not from without, like human teachers, but from within. I want to reflect on this inner teaching. It is important that we think about our own experience. I invite you to evoke your own experience. How do we experience the teaching of the Holy Spirit? In Jesus' farewell speeches in the Upper Room, Jesus names three special modes of action of the Holy Spirit. In a sense, these three words of Jesus give the program of the action of the Holy Spirit.
1. "He will remind you of all that I have told you" (Jn 14:26). The Holy Spirit reminds us.
2. "But when the support comes that I will send you from the Father, the spirit of truth that goes out from the Father, then he will bear witness for me and you too will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning "(Jn 15:26). The Holy Spirit bears testimony, just as we should, may, and can testify. The Holy Spirit bears witness to Jesus, makes him consciously present to us, brings him close to us. Behind it stands the Greek word "Martyrium", martyrêsei = he will be a witness for Jesus.
3. "When the Paraclete, the Advocate, comes, he will convict the world and expose what is sin, righteousness and judgment" (Jn 16: 8). The Holy Spirit convicts.
In his testament, the Lord gave three activities of the Holy Spirit to the disciples in the farewell speeches on the night before his suffering: remembering, witnessing and convicting.


How does the Holy Spirit do it? How does he remember? In the catechism it is once said: "The Holy Spirit is the living memory of the Church" (CCC 1099). When we sometimes feel that the Church is scattered, we are, or I am scattered, we can trust that the Holy Spirit will remind us. The whole Bible is full of the subject of remembering. The Jewish tradition to this day is above all a tradition of remembrance, of remembrance: "Do not forget the deeds of God!" It's like a refrain through the whole Bible: Remember Israel! Do not forget! In a sense, the Holy Spirit is the one who nudges us so that we do not become forgetful but rather remember.
This role of the Holy Spirit is discussed in detail in the catechism, for example in the anamnesis of the Mass, when the deeds of God are remembered after the words of change. The catechism says: "The liturgical celebration always relates to God's saving interventions in history" (KKK 1103). Creation, the election of God's people with Abraham, the exodus from Egypt, the temple, exile, deeds of God. The revelation event takes place in deeds and words that are internally connected with each other, so that the words proclaim the works and reveal the mystery contained in them ", so it says in a text of the council (Dei Verbum 2). Words and deeds are in the Bible they are always linked and illuminate one another.In the service of the Word, the Holy Spirit reminds the community of all that Christ has done for us, most solemnly on Easter vigil with the nine readings, where the whole great story of God's people is gone through According to the nature of liturgical acts and the traditional rites of the churches, a liturgical celebration commemorates the great deeds of God in a more or less detailed anamnesis. The Holy Spirit, who thus awakens the memory of the church, encourages thanksgiving and praise We always see that in the Bible: first you remember, and then you praise. What has God done for us? tan? Let's not forget, let's remember. From this follows doxology, the hymn of praise, the praise of God. The ultimate memory is the Eucharist. It is a great reminder, commemoration. We commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in every mass. But what kind of remembrance is that, what kind of remembering? In the catechism (no. 1363) it says: "In the sense of the Holy Scriptures, memory is not just a recollection of past events, but the proclamation of the great deeds that God has done for people. In the liturgical celebration In this way the people of Israel understand their deliverance from Egypt. Each time the Passover is celebrated, the events of the Exodus are brought back to the minds of the believers so that they can shape their lives according to the events. " Everyone who takes part in the Passover meal, in the Seder, it is expressly stated, see themselves as one who is now leaving Egypt. We are at the same time as the event that we remember and that thereby becomes present. We are in the Upper Room at the same time as the apostles, when the priest speaks the words of Jesus that he spoke in the Upper Room, then they are present now. We remember, at the same time they are present. You are in the today of God's events. Isn't it strange that we always speak of today in the liturgy? At Christmas we sing as a matter of course "today the Savior was born to us ", even if it was 2,000 years ago. It is now! In remembrance it is present, just like the Easter event: Today Christ is risen! In remembrance, in remembrance the Holy Spirit makes present what happened at that time but it happened once and for all. It becomes a present when we remember it. Nowhere is it as clear as in the Eucharist. There it says in the Catechism (n. 1364): "In the new covenant memory is given a new meaning . When the Church celebrates the Eucharist, she remembers the Passover of Christ. This becomes the sacrifice that Christ made on the cross once and for all, remains always present and effective. "Then a prayer is quoted:" Whenever the sacrifice on the cross, to which Christ, our Easter Lamb was sacrificed, is celebrated on the altar, it takes place Work of our redemption ". Today it happens when we celebrate in remembrance. The Holy Spirit reminds and thereby makes present. This is true of all sacraments, by giving baptism, Christ the baptizing is, by giving absolution in confession, Christ is the one who gives absolution, now present. But we always remember what Christ established, what he once did. The Holy Spirit makes Christ act now. But what applies to the liturgy, also applies to our very personal life. There are exciting experiences, also a lot of living things from your experience. The Holy Spirit helps us to remember what the Lord is doing in our lives.
I would like to make this clear in two dimensions. One is the experience of the Holy Scriptures that Christ often speaks to us personally through his word, through the word of the gospel. I have had this experience so often that a gospel, a passage from the Old Testament or the New Testament letters suddenly opens up a new dimension. I am told something that I have not even noticed before. It is always an enlivening of the Lord's presence. The joy, but also the dismay at such remembrance, that the Holy Spirit triggers, is something very special. It is as if the Holy Spirit is speaking the words of Jesus for me personally right now. We could give many examples where we have been able to experience such remembrance from the Holy Spirit. I will name two personal experiences. Once in the summer I was on a temporary job in a small parish in Switzerland in the mountains. One morning at mass I read the gospel of the day about the "wonderful multiplication of bread", which I had read many times. Jesus had looked after a huge crowd all day, healed many sick, taught them for a long time and then, when it was evening, his disciples came to him and said: "The place is remote, it is already late, send the people away so that they can go into the villages and buy something to eat "(Mt 14:15). Suddenly this word: "send the people away" affected me personally. I was really scared of it. Since that experience, 30 years ago, I have not been able to hear this gospel without being shaken. What was it that shook me so much? Suddenly the whole gravity of this word stood before me, the shocking part of the human incomprehension for Jesus. It is completely understandable that the disciples were tired in the evening and finally wanted to have the people gone, finally wanted to come to dinner themselves and therefore said: Now finally send the people away so that we can have a little rest. But this word hit me: "Send the people away". You are probably familiar with similar examples where a word of the gospel suddenly went so deeply to you.
I will give a second example. When Jesus once saw a man with a withered hand in the synagogue, he placed him in the middle and asked those present: "What is allowed on the Sabbath? To do good or bad, to save a life or to destroy it? But they were silent ". Markus says: "And he looked at them one by one, full of anger and sadness for their hardened heart." When he had healed the man, "the Pharisees went out and, together with the followers of Herod, decided to kill Jesus" (Mk 3: 1-6). What pain it must have been for Jesus, this hardness of heart! How did he feel? I think that is also the remembrance of the Holy Spirit: "He will remind you of everything", what Jesus did and said, when we are sometimes given the opportunity to sense something that has gone on in the human-divine heart of Jesus. What a pain that must have been for him! He who only does good encounters such hardness of heart. So I begin to sense what it can mean to share the suffering of Jesus, i.e. to feel the lively desire, which one can often read about in saints, to participate in the suffering of Jesus, or at least not to enlarge it through the hardness of my own heart. It should be added immediately that this pain of Jesus, which many saints have contemplated so intensely, is inextricably linked with an incomparable joy of Jesus. It is also important to suspect them. This is what the Holy Spirit gives. What a joy it must have been when Jesus said to the heathen centurion: "I have not found such a faith in Israel" (Lk 7: 9). Or as he said to the pagan woman from the region of Sidon and Tire: "Woman, your faith is great" (Mt 15:28).To sense, to taste the joy of Jesus when he meets such people, is also an unmistakable work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus says: "Remain in my love, I told you so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be perfect" (Jn 15: 9-11).
Paul must have felt something of this joy, just as he knew the pain of Jesus when he named joy among the fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:22) after love. The spirit gives joy. It must have happened to Peter too, he must have known something of this unmistakable taste of the joy of the Holy Spirit when he says in the first letter of Peter: "You have not seen him, Jesus Christ, and yet you love him; you see him too not now, but you believe in him and rejoice in unspeakable joy filled with glory, as you will receive the goal of your faith, your salvation "(1 Pet 1,8-9).
To share in the life of Jesus, to be able to live it from within, so to speak, his pain, his joy, that is the work of the Holy Spirit. It is not a reminder like when my iPad suddenly jingles and I am reminded of an appointment. This is a completely different remembering, an awareness of the Lord. This experience is often attested in the Christian life story, certainly not just theory, that is life, experience. "You in me and I in you" is what the Gospel of John often says. "Christ in me", "Christ in us" is what Paul says all the time. Or very briefly: "In Christ". This is what the remembrance of the Holy Spirit gives: the presence of Christ.
Another final dimension of this remembering. It struck me that people who are very closely connected to Christ, who live this "in Christ", often have particularly good memories. That can also be a special talent. I think of our Pope Benedict XVI, whom I have known for 40 years. There are few people who have such a fantastic memory, a special talent, but there is something else. It has to do with the fact that the Holy Spirit, people who allow themselves to be filled by him and thereby live connected to the Lord, are, as it were, led out of themselves and not circle around themselves. You are not locked in yourself, so you perceive other people much more intensely and therefore remember much better. I am amazed again and again how people who have a living faith, a close bond with the Lord, are simply awake to other people. I found a nice word with Paul Zulehner: "He who immerses himself in God appears with the people". This is an experience given by the Holy Spirit, including simple things, that you remember birthdays and days of mourning, wedding anniversaries and all sorts of things, names of people and what moves them, what they have suffered and what kind of longings they have to have. All of this is also part of this wonderful remembrance of the Holy Spirit.


I have to address the other two dimensions. The second: the Holy Spirit testifies of Christ. He makes us his witnesses. In the last catechesis I have a famous word from Pope Paul VI. quotes that people today are not so much looking for teachers as they are looking for witnesses. In order for us to be witnesses of Christ, we need the testimony of the Holy Spirit. It fascinated me from an early age to get to know people who were taught to be witnesses of the Holy Spirit, not through study, but through this inner knowledge. "He will teach you everything," says Jesus. This does not mean that the Holy Spirit teaches us all techniques, such as using the computer, not even everything that can be learned, but the essentials, everything that leads to orientation in life and is helpful. The Holy Spirit teaches all of this. He works this internally through his seven gifts.
I could tell about many people who gave me the strong impression that they really have an inner teacher. They don't know things from books, but from an inner feeling. I told you about one last time, François Baetig, dear friend, gardener in Friborg, leader of our prayer group, that was such a person. I met someone else very early on, and he has not let go of me since, first his writings, then his life story and finally his widow Franziska. I mean the blessed Franz Jägerstätter, whom I discovered for the first time as a young student at the age of 22 through the book by Gordon Zahn "He followed his conscience" (Styria 1967). He fascinated me from the start because of the clarity of his judgment and the penetrating intellectual strength of this simple farmer who only had an elementary school education. He was certainly a talented, intelligent man, but above all because of his clarity of faith he had the gift of distinction that many university professors did not have in the Nazi era.
One can only marvel at the certainty with which this simple man grasped the spiritual and political situation of his time, how he distinguished lies from truth, how he himself did not find the understanding among priests and his bishop that he found for his lonely ones Weg had hoped to refuse military service to Hitler. But he always refrained from judging the others who did not go his way. He always said, "I have received grace. That's why I have to go this way". The exciting thing about Jägerstätter for me is that the testimony of this spirit-led person made it possible to distinguish between the signs of the times. Since the council we have talked a lot about the signs of the times. But how do you recognize them? Not from the statistics and not from the newspaper headlines. The martyrs, the witnesses of faith, show where the wounds are, the essential points of a time. Franz Jägerstätter showed the way lonely, but valid for our whole country, even if only a few could walk like him. Above all, Jägerstätter, and that is the strength of the witnesses, differentiated where in the National Socialist ideology the devil was ultimately at work. He clearly saw what was at stake here. It is the task of the martyrs to make us aware of what matters.
I quote a word from him that shows his clear discernment: "I believe the Lord God is not making it so difficult for us to commit our lives for our faith anyway, because when you consider that thousands of young people were already in these difficult times of war were asked to commit their lives for National Socialism, and many had to sacrifice their very young lives in this struggle. Why should it then be harder to commit life for a king who not only imposes duties on us but also gives us rights, whose ultimate victory? is certain to us and whose kingdom we are fighting for will last forever? " Not just a thousand years, as Hitler had claimed.


Finally, thirdly and finally, perhaps the most difficult: "The Holy Spirit", says Jesus, "will convict the world and expose what sin, righteousness and judgment are". Is the Holy Spirit a "discoverer" like some journalists or professional investigators? Isn't that a bit of a strange perspective? As the one who will teach us everything, is the Holy Spirit a relentless expose? He is the spirit of truth, but is truth conviction and exposure? Where's the love in that? I remember lunch with the Blessed Pope John Paul II, I was a young theologian in the eighties, freshly appointed to the International Theological Commission, the Holy Father had invited the theologians and professors to lunch. Hans Urs von Balthasar, the great Swiss theologian, sat right next to the Pope. I tried to listen. Then I heard them talking about this job. What does it mean, "The Spirit will convict the world of sin and expose it"? Shortly afterwards we were able to read what the Pope meditated on it in his wonderful encyclical on the Holy Spirit (Dominum et vivificantem).
What does the Holy Spirit do when he convicts us of sin? "He, the Holy Spirit, will convict the world and expose what sin, righteousness and judgment is. Sin that they do not believe in me, righteousness, that I go to the Father and you no longer see me, judgment that the ruler this world is judged "(Jn 16.8). But what does that mean in concrete terms? The Holy Spirit is supposed to "lead us into all truth", how does he do it? The Pope first meditates on the day of Pentecost and shows how the Holy Spirit "convicts the world of sin": "From this first testimony at Pentecost on, the action of the spirit of truth, which convicts the world of sin of the rejection of Christ, is closely related to the Witness to the paschal mystery connected: with the mystery of the crucified and risen Christ. In this connection this 'convicting sin' reveals its salvific dimension Jesus Christ did not come into the world to condemn and condemn it, but to save it (cf. Jn 3:17; 12:47). This is already underlined in this first speech when Peter exclaims: ' So let the whole house of Israel know with certainty: God made him Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified. ”(Acts 2:36) And when those present asked Peter and the other apostles:“ Wha What shall we do, brethren? "he replies:" Repent and be baptized each one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit ‘(Acts 2,37-38). In this way, 'convicting sin' becomes at the same time a conviction of the forgiveness of sins in the power of the Holy Spirit. In his speech to Jerusalem, Peter calls for repentance, just as Jesus called his listeners at the beginning of his messianic mission (cf. Mk 1:15). Repentance requires being convinced of sin; it contains an inner judgment of conscience, and since this is a test through the action of the spirit of truth in the human heart, it also marks the beginning of a new dispensing of grace and love: 'Receive the Holy Spirit' (Jn 20:22). We discover in this 'convicting sin' a double gift: the gift of the truth of conscience and the gift of the certainty of redemption. The spirit of truth is also the support "(Encyclical Dominum et vivificantem 31).
In Peter's sermon, Peter confronts his audience with the truth. "You crucified him and killed him by the hand of the wicked". Peter is telling the truth straight out: "You killed him". The Acts of the Apostles says, "When they heard this, it struck them right in the heart and they asked, Brothers, what must we do to be saved?" The Holy Father John Paul II says in this encyclical how the Holy Spirit is at work. First he gives insight into his own guilt and remorse. Only through the Holy Spirit can we get repentance. Therefore, the exposure by the Holy Spirit is very different from what is happening in our world. It is not a revelation to expose, but to give repentance, joy and freedom. Only the Holy Spirit can do this, and he does it by awakening our consciences. The conscience that reminds us of what is bad and what is good becomes a place of repentance. The Holy Spirit does not accuse, he not only convicts, but gives comfort and forgiveness, the assurance of mercy. It is not for nothing that Jesus speaks of the great, intense joy about repentance: "More joy in heaven over a sinner who repents than over 99 who do not need to repent". That's the difference: the world convicts by accusing. Just as the devil does in Revelation to John. "Day and night he accuses" (Rev 12:10). The Holy Spirit transfers from sin to the joy of forgiveness. He puts our sins in the light of truth to show us the truth of mercy and forgiveness. We are still on the way, our pilgrimage is not over yet. We have not yet been introduced to all truth, not yet all sin has been revealed, not yet all righteousness has been realized. But where conversion has already begun, there the joy of the Holy Spirit shines.