Homily for the 6th Sunday of Easter Year A
Theme: The Coming of the Holy Spirit
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Homily for Sunday May 17 2020
The presence of our Lord Jesus Christ is forever felt in our lives as believers, in our families as domestic abodes of the Most High, in the Church as the Family of God and in the whole world so full of the glory of the Risen One! Thanks to the ever-abiding Paraclete; promised by Jesus Christ and given by the Father. He is the Spirit that brings to fruition the merits of the life and ministry of Christ in the lives of the faithful. He is the Spirit that confirms us in the faith and strengthens us to be defenders of the faith. May the Light of the Holy Spirit shine in our hearts always; Amen.
Christ knew the limitations of His followers; He knows our limitations. He knew that, left alone, the disciples would not achieve anything. He knew that human nature, unaided by the gift of grace, cannot obey God. He was quite aware of the enormity of the mission, and its corresponding challenges, that await His disciples. He was fully conscious of the span of His earthly life and mission and He knew the impact His physical absence would cause His disciples. This was the background of part of His farewell speech to His disciples in the Gospel Reading of today (John 14:15-21); “I shall ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you for ever, that Spirit of truth whom the world can never receive since it neither sees nor knows Him.” The role of the promised Gift of Christ is indispensable in the Church. His presence perpetuates the reign of Christ and keeps alert our consciousness of who we are and our relationship with God through Christ. The promised Advocate works with all of God’s sons and daughters through the path of history and guides the Church in the process and progress of her mission to the ends of the earth. It is impossible to know Christ and to become member of His body without the operation of the Holy Spirit. The promised Advocate is the One Who softens the hearts of men and women, and transforms them into fertile soil for the germination of the seed of the Word of God. He is the One Who unravels the hidden truths of the faith to the knowledge of those who believe. He is the One Who confirms believers in the faith. These were the experiences of the earliest Church communities and these remain our experiences too on our journey of faith.
The disciples recognised and appreciated the indispensability of the Holy Spirit in their mission and ministry, especially after the Ascension into heaven of the Risen Lord. This is reflected in all of their actions and processes as we read partly in the First Reading of today (Acts 8:5-8, 14-17). For, “when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, and they went down there, and prayed for the Samaritans to receive the Holy Spirit… They had only been baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus.” This experience is re-lived in the Church through the administration and reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation. It is through this Sacrament that our regeneration at the waters of Baptism is consolidated by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit so that we develop spiritually from being children of God and believers, to becoming defenders of the faith, nourished at the sacred Table of the Holy Eucharist. The presence of the Holy Spirit in our midst and our familiarity with Him make us docile to obey the commandments of God and to live and grow in love with one another. He is the live-wire of our relationship with God! His presence Illumines our hearts and minds; and leads us to “reverence the Lord Christ in our hearts, and always to have our answer ready for people who ask us the reason for the hope that we have in common” (I Peter 3:15-18). The presence of the Holy Spirit makes Christ and all the graces He gained for us available and accessible to us. Even in this most difficult time in our history, as a result of the COVID-19, we must remain certain of the closeness of the Advocate in our midst. He is the Spirit of healing and transformation! He is also the Spirit that directs History and the turn of events.
May the Gift you promised, Oh Lord, find a place in our hearts and homes and Church and in the whole world; Amen. Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE