Homily for the 6th Sunday of Easter Year C
Theme: Promise of the Holy Spirit
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Homily for Sunday, May 26 2019
The Christian life is never a burden but rather a life of love and peace and of obedience to the will of God. The active and fruitful presence of the Holy Spirit leads the Church and countless number of believers to become concrete signs and witnesses of these virtues in the world. Just like in the days of the apostles and through all ages, may the fragrance of the presence of the Holy Spirit be constantly felt in the Church and in our lives as Christians; Amen.
This Season of Easter has been very edifying and spiritually fulfilling, especially as we progressively journey with the Risen Lord, filling the deepest valleys and the high hills of our lives by the power of the resurrection and deepening our relationship and contact with Christ the Emmanuel our Saviour. On this Sixth Sunday of Easter, with eyes fixed on the great feasts ahead of us, namely, the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord and the Pentecost Sunday, the readings of today bring our attention to the promise and great gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church and to the followers of Christ; and of the operations of the Holy Spirit in our midst. In the part of His farewell speech to His disciples we read in the Gospel Reading (Jn 14:23-29), Jesus said to His disciples, “the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you.” We see the three Divine Persons collectively at work in the work of our redemption just as they were at creation. It is Christ who promises us this unique gift. It is the Father who sends and the Holy Spirit is the promised Paraclete. The Holy Spirit is both the Teacher and the Memory of the Church and of all followers of Christ. He teaches us to love God and to obey His commandments. The History of the Church and of Christians of all tribes and tongues and peoples and nations portray the active and indispensable role of the Holy Spirit in our midst. It has always being the Holy Spirit guiding the Church and Christians to be faithful to Christ. In the First Reading (Acts 15:1-2, 22-29), when faced with the challenge of incorporation of the gentile brethren to the Christian fold, the apostles were very attentive to discern the will of God through the power of the Holy Spirit. In their letter to the Christians of Antioch, they made it clear that “it has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by ourselves not to saddle you with any burden beyond these essentials.” A life lived without the Holy Spirit is certainly a burdensome life. Without His presence, we lose contact and connection with the mysteries we celebrate. Faith devoid of the Holy Spirit becomes a myth. It is the Holy Spirit who lightens the path for us. It is the Holy Spirit who brings us to see through the eyes of faith a glimpse of what God has in store for all those who believe as we read in the Second Reading (Rev 21:10-14, 22-23); “in the Spirit, the angel took me to the top of an enormous high mountain and showed me Jerusalem, the holy city, coming down from God out of heaven.”
The Church never walks alone and certainly no follower of Christ can make it alone. It is the Spirit of God that guides and directs our paths. He protects and defends us! When we encounter Him, He comes into us with His seven gifts (wisdom, knowledge, understanding, counsel, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord) and also lays the eggs of His nine fruits in us (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) that we can truly live as Christians. As we look forward to the coming feasts, it is right and just that we join the whole Church in preparation for the renewal of the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday with the Novena to the Holy Spirit. An encounter with the Holy Spirit changes our whole story for good and a renewed encounter with Him consolidates the progress already made in the spiritual life. An encounter with the Spirit of truth makes the difference!
May God grant us the courage to dispose ourselves for a fruitful encounter with the Holy Spirit, Who is the ever-present gift of Christ to all who believe; Amen.
Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE