22 May 2022 – 6th Sunday of Easter (Year C)

by Fr Ryan Innas Muthu

Acts 15:1-2,22-29
Psalm 66:2-3,5-6,8
Apocalypse 21:10-14,22-23
John 14:23-29

Theme: The Holy Spirit Empowers the Church

My dear brothers and sisters Christ,

We are in the 6th Sunday of Easter and we are approaching to celebrate the Pentecost, the birth of the Church. Our theme is ‘The Holy Spirit Empowers the Church‘.

When you look at the readings, especially the Gospel today, this particular text or particular pericopial passage is taken from the final discourse of Jesus at the Last Supper. At the Last Supper, it was the final speech, a farewell speech to the apostles and the disciples. Jesus wanted to tell many things to His disciples but He said and He made them to understand after He left from the world, that is through the Advocate, through the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete. So the Paraclete, the Advocate, will teach and remind everything He has said before. So in another word, we can say Jesus was preparing the disciples for the Pentecost experience, for the Advocate, empowering the church to the Holy Spirit.

So He said “I have told you this now before it happens so that when it happens, you may believe.” The text today, in the Gospel today, Jesus said:-

“I have told you this now before it happens so that when it does happen, you may believe.”

So He was preparing for the experience. He is preparing for the Pentecost. He is preparing for another Advocate to come and guide them.

So today, we see that Jesus explains to His disciples in this passage, in the light of revelation. He explained to His disciples in the light of revelation. The revelation of God is truly manifested in the presence of Jesus. And later we all see that the revelation of God revealed in the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit. So the historical Jesus, Jesus came to this world and He already revealed Himself through His life from the event, from His Passion, Death and Resurrection. He taught them, he also healed them, He also gave them certain miracles so that they believe in Christ, that is the Messiah.

Jesus said, in the Gospel today, also mention He was preparing them that “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word.” That is essential. That is the first step for us to do. If you and I love Jesus, and you and I will keep His word so that, Jesus said, “My Father will love him. We shall come to him and make home with him. Be with him.” Unity and trinitarian dimension is here mentioned. Jesus said:-

“We, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit shall come to him, to her, to live with you, be with you, journey with you.”

The one who loves, receive the word and will experience the binding presence of Jesus and the Father. The one who does not love Jesus does not hear the word. Therefore, has no access to the revelation of God. So those who believe, love, those people will keep His words. So we have experienced this revelation. So if you experience this revelation of God, will believe in Christ, will love Him, therefore will keep His words. And that is revelation.

So the word according to St John, word became flesh (in the first chapter) and lives among us. And he said God became Man, begotten from the Father. That is Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah, who lives among us. The imminent God coming, living with us. That is why Jesus said:-

“My Father will love you. We shall come to you and make home with you. Stay with you, journey with you, walk with you, in your struggles, in your difficult moments, when you face challenges in your life. I will be with you.”

So in another word, what is the word of Jesus? The teaching of Christ. At the same time, Jesus himself is the Word. If you love Him, accept Him, you will keep His word. That is the first teaching that Jesus wants to tell us today.

The second, Jesus said “After I have left, I will give you the Advocate.” According to John Chapter 14 Verse 16 (all of us are Christians and Catholics, go back and check this verse) it says, “I will give another Advocate.” That means the first Advocate, Himself. Jesus came as the first Advocate. And Jesus said:-

“I will give another Advocate, that is the Holy Spirit to guide you. I am not leaving you as orphans, abandon you but you are not alone. I am with you.”

“I will give another Advocate” means the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit. So here the Paraclete will replace Jesus’ physical presence. And teaching the disciples, all of us, and recalling for them everything that Jesus has taught them.

So my dear brothers and sisters, disciples who in the presence of the Paraclete will love Jesus and keep His commandments and will come to know God and be loved by God and by Jesus. So the role of the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, according to John (and Jesus mentioned that and John putting in his word telling us) that “to continue the mission of Christ.” That is the role of the Paraclete, the Advocate. Advocate as a teacher and witness.

So the mission and the purpose of the former Paraclete, that is Jesus who speaks and teaches on His own will continue onto the mission and the purpose of the other Paraclete. According to verse 16 is the Holy Spirit who will teach us and bring us back to the memory of all that Jesus has said.

So that is why we are here. That is why as a church we are coming to go back, recall the event of Christ, at the same time the Holy Spirit teaching and molding and forming us so that we will be directed by the Holy Spirit. Directed by God the Father.

So we are not alone. This is the time of the Holy Spirit. God reveal Himself through Christ. Now God reveal Himself through the Holy Spirit.

So we believe in the Holy Spirit. We trust in the Holy Spirit. At times we have doubt of the Holy Spirit. We feel neglected and we do not feel, we do not see. He is invisible but we need faith. If you believe in Christ, then you will love. If you love Christ, then you will keep the commandments. The same thing, if you believe in the Holy Spirit, you will love the Holy Spirit. If you love the Holy Spirit, you will keep the word of Christ.

In the First Reading today, it shows us the example of the intervention of the Spirit in the life of the early Christians. They were having a serious problem in the early church. The problem is the Jewish Christians and the Gentile Christians. The Jewish Christians wanted the Gentile Christians to uphold Judaism so they can enter into the Jewish Christian community. And the Gentile Christians are telling that they are not necessary uphold Judaism because Christ is the climax. Christ is the Messiah. We believe, we have faith in Christ and He saved us. So there was a confusion, there was tension and there was a serious problem in the early church. However, what we want to see here today is the intervention of the Holy Spirit. By the Spirit within the church, solved this problem. We can say that Jesus never solved it directly but through the Holy Spirit He solved it. How He solved it? The people, the apostles, Paul and Barnabbas, they came together, they prayed, they discussed, analyse and made a decision. So that is discernment, a simple discernment.

So today in our life, the family as a Christian family, community in the parish, in the BEC, do we have this discernment? We are lacking of discernment. So what is discernment? We want to follow God’s plan, God’s direction for the greater glory of God. Not my glory, not your glory. Not your plan, not my plan but God’s plan. So we want to discern well for the greater glory, for the common good, for the people, for the human kind. So if we do that, pray together, united and discern, listen and also discuss many things, argue many things, then we come out with one decision. That is discernment, that is the guiding of the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit will empower the church. the Holy spirit will continue to empower so that we will be His instrument in this earth.

The Second Reading today also explains to us. It describes the church as the heavenly Jerusalem, a city united with love, with the victorious Jesus residing in it. If you believe that, we must be united, solidarity at the same time we must be united in faith to continue the mission of Christ in this earth.

How to see the Holy Spirit is guiding us? Through our action. St Paul always will say:-

“As an instrument, a unifier, if you unify the community, there is a Spirit in you. If you bring division in the family and the community, there is evil spirit.”

So you want to test yourself? Are you a unifier or bring division in the community? So we can challenge, we can argue but we have to come together, united as one church, one faith. United in the body of Christ, we make a decision. It is not for us. It is for God, His will, His plan, through us, in us.

So how the Holy Spirit is teaching us? How the Holy Spirit is reminding us about all these events? Through the church. Church who lead, exercising this gift. He empowers us. The Holy Spirit giving the strength, empowers the church so that the church will exercise as a preacher, reminding, teaching the people, teaching the word so that all of us will be directed.

So my dear brothers and sisters, we have the Word of God, the presence, the revelation of God through the Word. Come back to the word. We cannot take everything at one go, one day, one month. We need a whole life to read, medidate and digest and the word will direct us in the correct path.

Second, we are not alone. The Advocate, the Paraclete, the another Advorcate, the Holy Spirit will teach us, constantly will teach us, constantly reminding us of the event of Christ so that we do not sidetrack.

The third, we have the wisdom of the community, the cleric as well as the laity, coming together, discern well, argue, pray and we take a decision for the greater glory of God. That is the mission of Christ. That is our role. That is our task so that God will continuously reveal Himself through the Holy Spirit to the world.

So let us celebrate this wonderful celebration that we are heading to celebrate, the birth of the church, that is the Pentecost. It is wonderful and let us celebrate together as one church, one mind, one heart, together to the Trinity.

Click below to listen to homily and watch video:

Click to live-stream Mass on 22 May 2022