Sixth Sunday of Easter
May 15, 2020
From the Third Sunday of Lent, through Holy Week and Easter until now the Sixth Sunday of Easter Season we have not be able to gather for public Mass. While that is true, the meaning of this holy time has not changed. The celebration of the Easter Vigil began a new Season of joy, the Easter Season. This season has been one of celebrating the new life that we have received through the resurrection of Our Lord.
While we continue to rejoice in the Lord’s the resurrection, today’s first reading and Gospel turn our focus to the coming of the Holy Spirit. This new focus is beneficial as our world needs the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. In these final two weeks before we celebrate Pentecost let us pray that the Holy Spirit will become a greater part of our lives in order to give us new life.
Our readings allow us to reflect on the question, Who is the Holy Spirit?
Just as last week, our Gospel takes place at the Last Supper. As the life of Jesus draws to a close, Jesus shares that which is most important with his disciples.
In this farewell discourse Jesus tells the disciples that he will not leave them as orphans. Jesus says that he will send the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, to them. The meaning of Advocate in John’s Gospel is one who teaches. Jesus is the first Advocate who revealed the Father’s truth to the world. Now he promises to send them the Holy Spirit who will continue to make himself present and continue to reveal the truth of the Father. Jesus goes on to say that not only will he send the Holy Spirit to the disciples but he will come back to them as well.
Jesus departs to the Father in order to live with the Father and to send the Holy Spirit to abide or dwell in the lives of the disciples. The Holy Spirit will continue the work of Jesus in the lives of his disciples. Thus, Jesus will come back to the disciples through the presence of the Holy Spirit.
THE HOLY SPIRIT FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF ST. LUKE
The Book of the Acts of the Apostles was written by St. Luke. St. Luke has a different perspective of the Holy Spirit from the author of the Gospel of John. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus is a prophetic Messiah. At the end of his life he dies, rises and ascends to the Father in order to send his Holy Spirit into the lives of his disciples so that they can continue his work in the world. The Book of Acts shows the disciples bringing the Good News of Jesus to the ends of the earth. In our first reading Philip, filled with the Holy Spirit, continues the teaching and miraculous works of Jesus in Samaria. The reading shows the growth of the church. After being baptized in the name of Jesus, Peter and John pray over Samaritans so that they can receive the Holy Spirit. This reading reminds us that we, like the apostles have received the gift of the Holy Spirit and through that Spirit are called to pass on the faith to others.
THE HOLY SPIRIT – THE GIVER OF LIFE
A third perspective of the Holy Spirit is that the Holy Spirit is the person of the Trinity who gives new life. In the Creed we refer to the Holy Spirit as the giver of life. The Holy Spirit brought about new life at the creation of the world. The Spirit was at work when Jesus was conceived in the womb of Mary. The Holy Spirit came down upon the Apostles and transformed them on Pentecost Day and the church was born. The Holy Spirit continues to give us new life through Baptism. Empowered with the Holy Spirit we are to bring God’s new life to change the fear we encounter around us.
HOW THE HOLY SPIRIT IS WORKING IN OUR LIVES
This is a unique time. We have a great need of the Holy Spirit. We need the Spirit that truly makes Christ present in our lives so it is clear that God is with us, that we are not alone. We need a Spirit that reveals to us the truth of God. This is a time in which we need to be empowered to continue to do the work of Christ in our world as were the early apostles. We need a Holy Spirit who will transform us so that we can bring God’s life to the darkness around us.
As we approach Pentecost let us pray that the Holy Spirit will transform us and be an even greater part of our lives.
COME HOLY SPIRIT, FILL THE HEARTS OF YOUR FAITHFUL AND ENKINDLE IN THEM THE FIRE OF YOUR LOVE.
SEND FORTH YOUR SPIRIT AND THEY SHALL BE CREATED AND YOU SHALL RENEW THE FACE OF THE EARTH.