The sixth Sunday of Easter, one figure that featured in all the Readings is the Holy Spirit and the Readings show us the effects of the abiding Presence of God in his Church and of his indwelling in each one of us. Jesus is gradually approaching the end of his earthly ministry, so he promised to send us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the radiant glory that enlightens us. If we remain docile to him, he will guide us in all our decisions and ways through life.
The first Reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, tells us how the Holy Spirit, indwelling in the Church, helped the Apostles to solve major doctrinal problems. In fact in the whole of Acts of the Apostles, the Apostles did not take any decisions without consulting the Holy Spirit. Also, they could not carry out any serious mission without the Holy Spirit. “The Holy Spirit and we have decided,” they said.
The second Reading begins thus: “In the Spirit, the angel took me to the top of an enormous mountain… .” Of course, there is no way John could have seen these things without the help of the Holy Spirit. This Reading taken from the Book of Revelation describes the Church as the Heavenly Jerusalem which replaces the holy presence of God in the Holy of Holies in the Temple in Jerusalem. This New Jerusalem is a city united in love, with the victorious Jesus residing in it and in each of its members.
In the Gospel, as Christ was about ascending back to his father, he promised to send the Advocate to his disciples. The Holy Spirit is the power of Jesus, and yet, a Person in the Trinity, and this Gospel passage reminds us that the Holy Spirit, abiding within us, is our Teacher, our Advocate, and the Source of our peace and joy. The passage offers us a vision of hope as well. Jesus promises his followers that the Holy Spirit will come and instruct them in everything they need to know.
Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel passage, that the one thing in life which we can always trust is God’s presence. God inhabits our hearts so deeply and intimately that we become the visible dwelling place of God. His living and life-affirming Presence is always with us, yet ‘”hidden” in the very things we so often take for granted. Thus, we are invited to look for and encounter — “God-with-us,” yet “hidden” — in the person sitting next to us, in the words we speak, and in the songs we sing at worship.
Jesus teaches us in the Gospel Reading the condition for this indwelling of the Holy Trinity, namely, we have to show our love of God by keeping his word, and this keeping of his word will be facilitated by the Holy Spirit, God’s Holy Breath. Jesus further explains that the real source of Christian joy is the certainty that God loves us. We, too, must be ready to express our love for others by our readiness to die for them as Jesus died for us. That we should also remember that true Christian love is costly and painful because it involves sacrifice on our part when we start loving unlovable, ungrateful, and hostile people with Christ’s unconditional, forgiving, sacrificial love. But our Christian call is to love others as Jesus has loved us, and as Jesus loves them.
Finally, the Church advises us that we should be aware of the abiding Presence of God within us for we live in the New Covenant of Jesus, daily facing uncertainty, conflict, and temptations. It is this abiding Presence of God within us which enables us to face the future with undying hope and true Christian courage.
The Holy Spirit whom the Risen Lord asked his Father to send upon his Church prompts us to turn to his Holy Scriptures for support and encouragement, enables us to learn the Divine truths, and grants us his peace at all times. However, to be able to receive these gifts, it is necessary for us to spend a little time each day in personal prayer, talking to God and listening to him. We must deepen our relationship with Jesus, learn to get in touch with him, and sincerely love him. When we listen to the Holy Spirit, we will know his plan for our life and his solutions to whatever problems we face. We will be able to love our fellow human beings, and there will be a core of peace within us. The Holy Spirit teaches us through the Scriptures and preaching during the Holy Mass. Jesus loves us and comes to us in Communion. When the Mass is ended, we go forth in the peace of Christ — all this under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
We need to have the belief that we are not alone. We need only allow Jesus into our lives to be liberated from our loneliness. Oneness with Jesus is the greatest gift we can give our children, our friends, or those who see no purpose in life. We can help to bring people into unity with Jesus, a unity that will change their lives. As we celebrate this Eucharistic meal, our Mass, let us celebrate in a special way the price Jesus paid for our redemption. May this Eucharistic celebration empower us to lead a true Life of the Spirit! Amen!
Fr. Jude CSSp