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6th Sunday of Easter



6th Sunday of Easter Year C, 22/05/2022 Jn 14, 23-29

Revelation speaks of the temple of the city being Jesus Christ. This reminds us of our baptism when we become a temple of the Holy Spirit. The spirit of the Son and of the Father lives within us. We are a temple of God. What greater honour, dignity and privilege can there be??

This does not mean that God dis not present in the lives of non-believers, believers of other faiths, and even the atheist. It does mean that because of this divine presence we must show everyone the highest reverence and respect, with the greatest of dignity.

The early Church recognised the presence of the Holy Spirit in the debate and discussions they had about whether circumcision should or should not be imposed. In listening to the presence of that Spirit, they realised it was not and hastened to let this be known throughout the growing Church. Jesus introduces the word Paraclete into the dialogue in describing the Holy Spirit. Rather than a title this speaks of the Holy Spirit in terms of action, an advocate, a defender, a guide, an enlightener. The Word in reference to Jesus also implies action. The Word is creative, it was spoken by God to bring the whole of creation into being. The Word became incarnate, took human flesh, the Word lived and loved and died among us. Keeping the Word of God and being faithful to that Word means to live its message rather than just talk about it. Caritas is love in action seen in service, in caring, in supporting those in need, defending the marginalised and the voiceless, enlightening people’s ignorance about those in need, and also to be a guide, leading others to Christ and his gift of the Spirit.

Henri Nouwen:

It is often in our absence that the Spirit of God manifests itself. When Jesus left his disciples, he said: “It is for your own good that I am going, because unless I go, the Paraclete [the Spirit] will not come to you. However, when the Spirit of truth comes, he will lead you to the complete truth” (John 16: 7;13). It was only in Jesus’ absence that his friends discovered the full meaning of his presence. It was only in his absence that they completely understood his words and experienced full communion with him; and it was only in his absence that they could gather in a community of faith, hope, and love.

When we claim for ourselves that we come to our friends in the Name of Jesus – that through us Jesus becomes present to them – we can trust that our leaving will also bring them the Spirit of Jesus. Thus, not only our presence but also our absence becomes a gift to others.

Pope Francis summarized three types of advice the Holy Spirit provides.

  1. “Live in the present”. The present, not the past or the future. The Paraclete affirms the primacy of today, against the temptation to let ourselves be paralyzed by rancour or memories of the past, or by uncertainty or fear about the future.

  2. “Look to the whole”. The whole, not the part. The Spirit shapes us into a Church in the wide variety of our charisms, into a unity that is never uniformity affirming the primacy of the whole.

3. “Put God before yourself”. The Spirit affirms the primacy of grace. Only by emptying ourselves, do we leave room for the Lord; only by giving ourselves to him, do we find ourselves; only by becoming poor in spirit, do we become rich in the Holy Spirit.

by Fr Thomas O'BRIEN a.a