Last Friday at the Toronto Waldorf School, we celebrated The Holy Spirit working in community. The Holy Spirit is the spirit that unites us in our diversity. The Holy Spirit inspires us to understand and love more everything truly human.

And yet, at the same time, our gospel this week (Jn 16) tells us perhaps surprisingly that the Holy Spirit is also the spirit that judges and condemns. But the condemnation that the Holy Spirit brings is never directed toward other human beings; the condemnation that the Holy Spirit inspires is always on the ‘prince of this world’. The Holy Spirit judges and condemns the adversary working in us and around us. For we must always remember that our battle is never with other human beings, our battle is with spiritual powers of darkness, that tempt us to condemn and dismiss each other.

I have an annoying neighbor. He is always telling the townhouse board were we live what we are doing wrong. And I kept noticing that I had the feeling that I wished he would sell his house and move.

Then a few days ago, as we were getting out of the car with the girls, he was standing there like he always is, working in his garage. We said, ‘Hi Ron’…and he said out of the blue ‘whenever I see your daughters, it always makes me want to cry’. And I said, ‘oh, why’s that?’ He said, ‘My daughter died of leukemia, and my wife died of cancer shortly after that’…he went on…’sometimes I wonder why God gives us these things…I don’t know why…but we just have to keep goin…’

In this moment the Holy Spirit filled my heart with love and compassion for Ron. And at the very same time, the Holy Spirit awoke me to the fact that I had dismissed Him, that I had condemned a human being.

Dear Friends, may the Holy Spirit awaken love for human beings in us. And may this Spirit also teach us to judge and condemn the impulse of the adversary hiding in our hearts.