Sixth Sunday of Easter – Year A
May 17 2020 – 10:30 AM
Saint Cecilia Catholic Community
Deacon Sharon Kay Talley
Acts 8:5-18;14-17 | Psalm 66:1-7;16,20
I Peter 3:15-18 | John 15:15-21

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

Today, Jesus is preparing all of us for Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit, or Advocate, as Jesus refers to her.

The term Advocate, or Parakletos in Greek, is found five times in the New Testament:  John 1,  twice in John 14, John 15 and John 16.  Advocate is defined as “one who speaks in our defense” and also as “one called alongside”.  The Gospel emphasizes that the Holy Spirit, or Parakletos, is “sent from the Father.:  Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will remain with us always to teach us and to testify to us about Jesus.

The East-West Schism (also known as the Great Schism of 1054) is a dispute in theological differences regarding the procession of the Holy Spirit and whether leavened or unleavened bread should be used in the Eucharist.

The Western church proclaims that the Holy Spirit proceeds not from God the Father alone as the Eastern church teaches, but from both God the Father and God the Son.

In our first reading today from Acts, Phillip went out and baptized new converts in Samaria, but he did not lay hands upon them to confirm them.  Instead, he invited Peter (the chief shepherd of the Apostles)  and John to travel quite a distance in order to confirm them.  This was done in accordance with the Church’s teaching on Confirmation:  “The ordinary minister of the Sacrament of Confirmation is the bishop.  If the need arises, He may grant the faculty to priests, although it is fitting that he confers it himself mindful that the celebration of Confirmation has been temporarily separated from baptism for this reason.  Bishops are the successors of the apostles.

In today’s second reading from Peter, we are reminded to love, honor, and respect Jesus.  Peter goes on to tell us that the same Spirit that raised Jesus also sustains us.

So, in today’s Gospel, Jesus promises us the Holy Spirit, the Advocate.  But He stipulates, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.:  “I shall ask the Father and He will give you another Advocate to be with you always—that Spirit of truth.  But you know Her, because She remains with you and will be in you.”

In the Gospel of John, there are four monologues that occur during Jesus’ public ministry.  Today, we read the last one, commonly known as “The Farewell Discourse.”  Most scholars describe it as a testament, much like those found in the Old Testament; such as the farewell and blessing of Jacob to his children, David’s farewell speech and Moses’ series of discourses which came to be known as the book of Deuteronomy.  In the testament genre, generally, a great man gathers together his followers on the eve of his death to give them instructions that will help them after his departure.

So, the question for today is “What is this commandment we must keep in order to receive the Holy Spirit?”

It is “Go into the whole world and preach the Good News to all creation.” From Mark 16. Or, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” From Matthew 28.

 This is what we are meant to do.  This is our purpose in our earthly lives.  Please join us at St. Cecilia’s online and spread the Good Word by helping others to fulfill their destiny.

During this time of a pandemic, it includes doing what the Gospel explains that we can do by:


–participating in virtual services

–checking in on people to ensure they are well and have food, etc.

–washing your hands frequently and using hand sanitizer

–wearing a face mask in public

–cleaning and disinfecting frequently

–staying home except for essential needs

–loving one another as Jesus loves all of us

By following Jesus and practicing living our lives the way He showed us, with the help of the Holy Spirit, our Advocate, we all can overcome all adversities, including Covid-19. Amen