Acts 15:1-2, 22-29
Ps 67:2-3, 5, 6+8. O God, let all the nations praise you.
Rev 21:10-14, 22-23
The readings this weekend all speak of the Holy Spirit. The theme of the readings is all about the Spirit, as our Easter Season fast approaches Pentecost.
We cannot underestimate the importance of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in the life of the church. Without the Holy Spirit, the church would be ineffective and we, the disciples of Jesus, need the action and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to be effective in what we seek to achieve.
There is a line in the first reading that I really love; the words: “It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by us”…… or as another translation puts it: “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us that……” This shows that the early church and its disciples, when faced with new questions for new situations and new times, gathered together in prayer and actively discerned what the Holy Spirit wanted… and then they made a decision which was an authentic action of the Holy Spirit and with active cooperation from the disciples. We can see how the Holy Spirit becomes part of our lives, hearts and minds AND the major decisions of the church. Christian life for us disciples becomes a beautiful, cooperative and unified action both of our own will and intellect and also of God’s Holy Spirit. It is interesting, that this phrase has been put to practical effect in the history of the church even now. I believe that some religious orders, when their Superior (their leader) is deciding to send a religious person to a new appointment or mission, they would write in the official letter of appointment this beautiful formal phrase….. “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us that you be appointed to such and such……..” Thus there is a recognition of not only the decision-making process and wisdom of the leader but also the absolutely necessary prayerful discernment, grace and guidance of the Holy Spirit in everything we do.
We are invited by Christ to be “so connected to Christ” that our decisions, our actions and our priorities will be guided by and connected to Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, without any loss of freewill. I love that !
I absolutely love the Gospel today… It is mysterious, but also very profound. It is so beautiful and so important to our understanding. Jesus says that he and the Father, (through the Holy Spirit), will come and “make their home in our hearts, and make their home in us”….and that we will be connected to Christ,….. united to Christ in the very life of the Holy Trinity….…. We will be “in communion” with Christ in a very real way, through our obedience and love.
I love all the passages where Jesus, quite clearly, deliberately and explicitly speaks of the union he shares with the Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit, and how they “abide in each-other,” (they live in and within eachother)… (they make a home in eachother’s being). .. This union/ this communion, is inviting us to share and abide in God’s life…. This is his unique gift to us who become his disciples. There can be nothing more wonderful.
Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to us, so that we will always be connected to Jesus (abide in Him and him in us, and Him in the Father and the Father in the Spirit)….. we will abide in his teachings … live in his love…. and this Spirit living within us,,, will constantly remind us of his teachings and his truths……. God will truly live with his people.. and abide in and within us. God will walk with us, his people, always. And God will be the light to show us the way through our journeys through life, so we have nothing to fear even when life is far from easy or simple.
Finally, and most importantly, Jesus promises us the gift of peace. This is a gift we all long for, and for which the world longs to receive. Jesus promises us the gift of his peace… a peace the world cannot give and cannot achieve of itself…. God’s peace is all we need through all the tragedies and the joys of life… as well as the failures and successes of life….
Jesus has, with the gift of the Holy Spirit, gifted us with God’s divine peace and a unity and connection to God that can hardly be imagined//…. and also the very real authority to cooperate in and participate in real decisions for Christian living….. So, in union with Christ, we participate in and discern with the Spirit for the issues and questions that come up anew in our lives…. // This authority to discern the Spirit’s guidance in new questions is done by God in a way that engages us and all our talents and gifts, and uses all our faculties, - our knowledge and intellect, our understanding of the Scriptures as interpreted by the Church, which itself has been constantly inspired by the Holy Spirit down through the many ages…. This freedom to decide is also a deep and challenging responsibility, that does not give us license, but rather discretion and which frees us to be open to God’s ways and values, always with the prayerful guidance and prudence of God’s grace.
We can trust that God is there to guide us and direct us and inspire us as we contemplate the issue and questions of our present age. (we see this profound discernment and cooperation and love in Pope Francis’s exercise of his Papal ministry, which is inspiring to Christian and non-christian people alike, throughout the world.,,,
We must trust in the power and authority and discernment that God has given us, as a body of Christ, so that we may continue to apply the gospel in each and every new situation and circumstance of daily life….. for God is with us… God abides with and in us. God guides, leads and inspires us. God’s Holy Spirit shows us the way and gives us the direction.
Fr Paul W. Kelly
Archive of homilies and reflections is at: http://homilycatholic.blogspot.com.au
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6th Sunday of Easter, Year C
The Lord be with you.
Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins,
and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.
Lord Jesus, you came to gather the nations into the peace of God's kingdom: Lord, have mercy// You come in word and in sacrament to strengthen us and make us holy: Christ, have mercy//You will come again in glory with salvation for your people: Lord, have mercy.
1. We proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection, until you come again.
2. When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your Death, O Lord, until you come again.
**3. Save us, Saviour of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection, you have set us free.
Preparation of the Gifts
Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the bread we offer you: fruit of the earth and work of human hands, it will become for us the bread of life.
Blessed be God for ever.
Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the wine we offer you: fruit of the vine and work of human hands, it will become our spiritual drink.
Blessed be God for ever.
Pray, brothers and sisters, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God,
the almighty Father.
May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands, for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his holy Church.
Easter V p.26
Euch Prayer II p.56
Go in the peace of Christ, alleluia, alleluia.
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