On this 6th Sunday of Easter, there is an emphasis on the power of the Holy Spirit and the role it plays in the lives of those who believe in God and keeps his commandments. This is gradually preparing us for the out pouring of the Holy Spirit coming up soon. It is a necessary encounter in the life of all those who believe in God. In view of this fact, the readings we have on this 6th Sunday is encouraging us to embrace this wonderful invitation presented to us; especially by Jesus Himself in the gospel reading of today.
In the 1st reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we see Philip taking the word of God beyond Jerusalem to Samaria. Great signs accompanied his preaching, the people were set free from evil spirits and many people were healed. This is one of the tasks that we need to carry out as Disciples of Christ. Taking the word of God to the ends of the earth in our word and deeds, just like Philip in the 1st reading of today. The positive disposition of the people, made it possible for the Holy Spirit to come down on the people when Peter and John laid hands on them. Faith in God is a necessity, if we truly want to receive the Holy Spirit when it comes at Pentecost. We have to befriend the Holy Spirit, because we are people of the Spirit; as we can see in the liturgy of today.
The 2nd reading of today points out the fact that there is a price we have to pay if we truly want to become a friend to the Holy Spirit. This is seen in the assertion of Peter, that we have to be ready and prepared for persecutions, just like Jesus did. But this challenge should not stop us for standing for the truth at all times; even when we have to stand alone. At such moments, be strengthened by the fact that you have the Trinity on your side. Jesus has walked that path before; in the body he was put to death and in the Spirit he was raised to life. That is why it is very important that we have to transcend the flesh and operate on the level of the Spirit.
Dear friends in Christ, in the Gospel reading, we see Jesus preparing his disciples for his ascension to his Father. He is assuring them that the Father will send them another counsellor, who is the spirit of truth and will be with them forever. This simply means that physically Jesus will no longer be with them, but the Holy Spirit that the Father will send will always be within them. However, for one to enjoy the presence of this spirit that Jesus is talking about, then we must love Jesus and keep his commandment. This simply means that the reception of the Counsellor that the Father is sending is not automatic. We must make our personal contribution by keeping the commandments of God. This commandment we can sum up as love of God and neighbour. The life we lead can become the good news that people see and live in their daily lives. This does not undermine the power of preaching and taking the word of God to the ends of the earth. Our actions confirm the good news that we carry.
May God grant us the grace to keep the commandments of God at all times. Peace be with you. Amen.