Translation of the Gospel According to John

Risen Christ on the Mount of the Ascension, Duccio, 1311.

At that time Jesus said to His disciples: I go to Him that sent Me: and none of you asketh Me: Whither goest Thou? But because I have spoken these things to you, sorrow hath filled your heart. But I tell you the truth: it is expedient to you that I go: for if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you: but if I go, I will send Him to you. And when He is come, He will convince the world of sin, and of justice and of judgment. Of sin, because they believed not in Me: of justice, because I go to the Father, and you shall see Me no longer: of judgment, because the prince of this world is already judged. I have yet many things to say to you; but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will teach you all truth. For He shall not speak of Himself: but what things soever He shall hear He shall speak, and the things that are to come, He shall show you. He shall glorify Me: because He shall receive of Mine and shall show it to you.

A Message From Pope Benedict XVI’s Mass of Possession of the Chair of the Bishop of Rome, May 2005

The Lord promises the disciples his Holy Spirit… [The Gospel says] that he will guide them to the whole truth. As the living Word of God, Jesus told his disciples everything, and God can give no more than himself. In Jesus, God gave us his whole self, that is, he gave us everything. As well as or together with this, there can be no other revelation which can communicate more or in some way complete the Revelation of Christ. In him, in the Son, all has been said to us, all has been given.

But our understanding is limited: thus, the Spirit’s mission is to introduce the Church, in an ever-new way from generation to generation, into the greatness of Christ’s mystery. The Spirit places nothing different, or new, beside Christ; no pneumatic revelation comes with the revelation of Christ – as some say -, no second level of Revelation.

The Trinity with Christ Crucified, Austrian, cir. 1410

No: He will have received from me…, Christ says in the Gospel (Jn 16:14). And as Christ says only what he hears and receives from the Father, thus the Holy Spirit is the interpreter of Christ. He will have received from me. He does not lead us to other places, far from Christ, but takes us further and further into Christ’s light. Consequently, Christian Revelation is both ever old and new. Thus, all things are and always have been given to us. At the same time, every generation, in the inexhaustible encounter with the Lord – an encounter mediated by the Holy Spirit – always learns something new.

The Holy Spirit, therefore, is the power through which Christ causes us to experience his closeness. But [scripture] also has something else to say: you will be my witnesses. The Risen Christ needs witnesses who have met him, people who have known him intimately through the power of the Holy Spirit; those who have, so to speak, actually touched him, can witness to him.

It is in this way that the Church, the family of Christ, beginning at Jerusalem…, as [Luke 24:49] says, spread to the very ends of the earth. It is through witnesses that the Church was built – starting with Peter and Paul and the Twelve, to the point of including all who, filled with Christ, have rekindled down the centuries and will rekindle the flame of faith in a way that is ever new. All Christians in their own way can and must be witnesses of the Risen Lord.

When we read the saints’ names we can see how often they have been – and continue to be – first and foremost simple people from whom shone – and shines – a radiant light that can lead others to Christ.

But this chorus of witnesses is also endowed with a clearly defined structure: the successors of the Apostles, the Bishops, who are publicly responsible for ensuring that the network of these witnesses survives. The power and grace required for this service are conferred upon Bishops through the sacrament of Episcopal Ordination. In this network of witnesses, the Successor of Peter has a special task. It was Peter who, on the Apostles’ behalf, made the first profession of faith: You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God (Mt 16:16).

St. Peter’s Chair, Attributed to Bernini, 1789

This is the task of all Peter’s Successors: to be the guide in the profession of faith in Christ, Son of the living God. The Chair of Rome is above all the Seat of this belief. From high up on this Chair the Bishop of Rome is constantly bound to repeat: Dominus Iesus – Jesus is Lord, as Paul wrote in his Letters to the Romans (Rm 10:9) and to the Corinthians (1Co 12:3). To the Corinthians he stressed: Even though there are so-called gods in the heavens and on the earth… for us there is one God, the Father… and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom everything was made and through whom we live (1 Co 8:5).

The Chair of Peter obliges all who hold it to say, as Peter said during a crisis time among the disciples when so many wanted to leave him: Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe; we are convinced that you are God’s holy one” (Jn 6:68-ff.). The One who sits on the Chair of Peter must remember the Lord’s words to Simon Peter at the Last Supper: …You in turn must strengthen your brothers (Lc 22:32). The one who holds the office of the Petrine ministry must be aware that he is a frail and weak human being – just as his own powers are frail and weak – and is constantly in need of purification and conversion.