Homily (Reflection) for Sixth Sunday of Easter, (A) (21st May, 2017) on the Gospel
Acts 8:5-8.14-17;Ps. 65:1-7.16.20 (R. v. 1);
A philanthropist noticed that the number of people who gathered to benefit from his generosity is steadily increasing. Although he came home with huge sum of money, different food stuff, among other things but he thought of what would be their fate when he leave the world. As a result, while addressing them he expressed his desire to make them self-reliant. Since a good number of them pointed accusing fingers to lack of job opportunities, he promised to help them find something doing. They were very happy to hear all these. He went on to tell them that he would do this by helping them in their farms, building of acquisition centres for them and by taking some to the city. On hearing of farms and skill acquisition centres many left him accusing him of insulting them. Even most of those whom he took to the city wanted the money without working for it.
Topic: Wants the Holy Spirit?
Next two Sundays is the Solemnity of that day the disciples received the gift of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost). In preparation for this, many parishes, societies, and even individuals do a lot of things which include the Novena to the Holy Spirit. However, it is important to ask ourselves, do we just want to fulfil one of those rituals or does it mean that we want that same Spirit our fathers in faith received that made them truly Christians? We read from the Acts of the Apostles: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Peter who could not stand before the maids when filled with the Holy Spirit was able to talk to the rulers and the elders to their faces, cf. Acts 4:8; Mk 14:66-71.
Holy Spirit is very important hence David prayed: “Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me” (Ps 51:11). It is important to know that Holy Spirit can be one’s enemy; hence prophet Isaiah wrote: “But they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit; therefore he turned to be their enemy, and himself fought against them” (Is 63:10). Saint Paul wrote: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own” (1Cor 6:19). In his letter to the Ephesians he warns: “… do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Eph 4:30).
We read from the gospel:
If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you (Jn 14:15-17).
This quotation points to the fact that the Holy Spirit is God’s gift to those who love him. Saint Peter and other apostles say in Acts of the Apostles: “And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him” (Acts 5:32).
Dear friends, whoever wants the Holy Spirit must ask the Father who is ever ready to give the Holy Spirit to whoever truly asks for it, cf. Lk 11:13. And the gift of the Holy Spirit cannot be obtained through dubious means as Simon the magician thought, cf. Acts 8:18-19. Again, it is freely given by the Father to whoever is ready for it, cf. Acts 10:45. So as we prepare for the solemnity of Pentecost let us not prepare for the gifts as the people we saw in our introductory story but let us prepare for the Holy Spirit by working on our lives. The choice is ours.
Bible Reading: Rom 12:1-21; Is 63:7-14.
Thought for today: Do you really want to receive the Holy Spirit?
Let us pray: Lord, help us to be ready for the Holy Spirit so that as we prepare for the celebration of that day the apostles received Him, may we also be ready for Him – Amen.
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