HOMILY FOR THE 6TH SUNDAY OF EASTER. MAY 17, 2020
“Real love is demanding. I would fail in my mission if I did not tell you so. Love demands a personal commitment to the will of God.”
–Pope John Paul II
My dearest friends in Christ, I welcome you to another moment of encounter with the life-renewing word of God. On this 6th Sunday our Lord promises never to leave us as orphans because He will send the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth to be with us. This Spirit, Our Lord says, the world will not accept because it neither sees nor knows Him.
The reading of today prepares us for the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise of the Spirit is part of the farewell discourse of Christ with His disciples. It is a promise of His Abiding Presence that will be received by all who love and keep the commandments of God. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. And I will ask the Father….” This statement points to the fact that there is a strong connection between love of God and the reception of His gift. As we prepare for another celebration of the Pentecost Jesus reminds us to examine our loyalty and obedience to His commandments. The gift of the Advocate is a free gift of God. The reception of this gift requires an interior disposition and desire which is a heart that is filled with the love of God; a heart that is open to receive the word of God.
In the first reading, we heard about this openness to the Word of God among the people of Samaria who listened to Philip with open hearts and welcomed the Word of God in their hearts. This prepared their hearts to receive the Spirit when Peter and John laid hands on them. God’s Spirit always finds a dwelling in a heart that is filled with the love of God.
When we are filled with the love of God, we won’t complain even when we suffer for the love of Christ. Peter encourages us in the second reading saying: “For it is better to suffer for doing good if that be the will of God than for doing evil.” May our sufferings never come from doing evil, and may we bear them for the love of God. That is the kind of suffering that purifies and sanctifies.
It’s worth noting that love is an important theme in John’s gospel. Jesus gives one commandment- to love. Therefore, judgment and eternal life begin now. At the end of each day, and during each moment of each day, for John, there’s only one question to ask yourself: In what ways did I or did I not love today? Have you shown enough love for your family and neighbors? Remember the commandment of God is summed up in love for God and your neighbor. We live in a world where so much hatred has stifled the growth of the love of God in our hearts, making it difficult for the Holy Spirit to dwell in our hearts to direct our lives. When hatred, anger, grudges and wickedness take up the space of love in our lives, we become instruments in the hands of the devil causing more harm and pain to others when we should be spreading love. “He alone loves the Creator perfectly who manifests a pure love for his neighbor.”
–St. Bede the Venerable
Jesus tells us, “By this everyone will know that you are My disciples if you have love for one another.” (John 13.34-35). Jesus reiterates this in John 15:12-13. “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. We see then, the overwhelming, repetitive, emphasis on love. “If we fail in love, we fail in all things else.“
As we prepare for the coming of the Spirit may we prepare our heart to love God and our neighbor and to welcome His words into our hearts. If you treasure the gift of God and desire the fruits of His Spirit, this is the time to make amends and prepare your heart to welcome Him.
Many have been orphaned not because they don’t have God as their Father or the Spirit as their advocate or because God has abandoned them, but because they have disowned God and His Spirit by living in sin.
In this Mass, we pray that God may grant us a renewed soul and a heart filled with love for Him.
Prayer – Lord, help me to fill my mind with Your Word and with those things that inspire love so that I can freely receive Your love and express it fully.
Have you said your Rosary?
Pray the Rosary daily to end the pandemic and for God’s mercy upon our sinful world