Sixth Sunday of Easter – Year A
May 14, 2022 – 10:30 AM
Saint Cecilia Catholic Community
Deacon Sharon Kay Talley
Acts 9:5-8;14-17 | Psalm 66:1-7;16;20
I Peter 3:15-18 | John 14:15-21

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

In preparation for Pentecost, Jesus tells us today that He is preparing to give us an Advocate who will be with us always.  This wonderful Advocate will refute the evils, ignorance, and false testimony against Her people!

There is a story about the Holy Spirit or Advocate that author, professor, and Anglican lay theologian C.S. Lewis told about a college student of his who was an atheist.  The student was very concerned because he had made friends with some Christian students.  They were enthusiastically witnessing him about Jesus, and it had shaken up the young man’s thinking.  He was going through some great struggles with Christianity, and he wanted to know, “What did Dr. Lewis think?”

C.S. Lewis wrote back, “I think you are already in the meshes of the net.  The Holy Spirit is after you.  I doubt you will get away!”

The Holy Spirit is active in the world today…seeking us, trying to teach us about the eternal abundant life that only Jesus can give.  That young college student who was in the meshes of the Holy Spirit’s net did get saved.  His name was Sheldon Vanauken, and this  is what he wrote about that day:

“I couldn’t reject Jesus.  There was only one thing to do.  I turned and flung myself over the gap toward Christ.  On a morning with spring in the air, March 29th, I wrote in my notebook, “I choose to believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in Jesus Christ, my Lord, and my God.  Christianity has the ring, the feel of unique truth.  Essential truth.  By it, life is made full instead of empty, meaningful instead of meaningless.  I confess my doubts and ask my Lord Christ to enter my life.”

By embracing the Holy Spirit, we are given the power to live our lives more like Jesus and be witnesses for Him.  She helps to shape us into godly people by giving us patience, kindness, faithfulness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control.  People who embrace the Holy Spirit do not become mass murderers of innocent people.

In our first reading from Acts of the Apostles, Philip is baptizing new converts and invites Peter, the Chief Shepherd of the Apostles, to preside, which follows the Church’s teaching on Confirmation:  “The ordinary minister of the Sacrament of Confirmation is the Bishop.”  This is the reason why the celebration of Confirmation has been separated from baptism.

The second reading from First Peter has its author teaching us about the passion  and animating power of the Holy Spirit, stating, “Put to death in the flesh, He was brought to life in the Spirit.”  The author also tells us to “treat non-believers with gentleness and reverence,” for it is better to suffer for doing good if that be the will of God than for doing evil.”

Coincidentally,  today is Mother’s Day as we prepare for Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit, the Advocate.  In most families today, advocacy falls on the shoulders of the mother to keep everything going in the family.  The Holy Spirit or Advocate is typically described using terms that are also common to women and mothers, such as counselor, helper, and in Christian and other religious families as engaging the Word of God for any problem in the home, providing unconditional love, and possessing a keen sense of discernment which teaches children kindness, justice, and fairness.

Today’s Gospel is a continuation of Jesus’ farewell discourse to His disciples.  In the first part of the discourse, which Fr. David spoke about last week, Jesus told the disciples to find comfort through their faith in God and that He was preparing a place for them in His Father’s house so they need not be sad or distressed.  He also entrusted them in continuing to do His works once He had joined God, the Father.

Today, Jesus tells the disciples,. “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me.  And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”

So, what are Jesus’ commandments?  According to the Gospel of John, Jesus gave His disciples just one commandment:  “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another just as I have loved you.”

By keeping this one commandment, we fulfill all other commandments.

Jesus also states in today’s Gospel:  “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.  And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you always.”  Jesus names the “Advocate” the “Spirit of Truth.”

Jesus was telling us all that He would not leave us.  We can feel safe and secure in the love of God through our gift of the Holy Spirit.  We have someone by our side as a permanent companion to protect us always.