17 May 2020 Sixth Sunday of Easter
SHARING THE LIVING WORD by DEACON MICHAEL DEMERS
“Let ALL the earth cry out with Joy! … IF”
Here on the 6th Sunday in Easter we start our focus on the Holy Spirit in preparation for Pentecost. Of course Pentecost is when the apostles and Mary waited, in seclusion for the promise of Jesus to send the advocate, the comforter, the friend.
In the first reading from Acts we see Philip proclaiming Jesus to the Samaritans who are hearing about his wonderful miracles, parables, teachings and his suffering, dying, resurrection and ascension into heaven! Their spontaneous response is one of joy. Which we see again shared with us in the responsorial psalm where we join in as well with: “Let ALL the earth cry out with Joy!” The works of God are something that brings great joy.
But that’s only the beginning of their experience, their encounter with the Risen Jesus through the proclamation of the Gospel (the Good News) of Jesus Christ as proclaimed and testified by Philip. Philip, filled with the Holy Spirit was united with Christ, the Holy Spirit and the Father. The Trinity was fully alive through him causing great miracles and healings. Yet, this experience of Jesus, this encounter with the Divine is incomplete. In order for the Samaritans to fully encounter the Trinity, the fullness of God in three persons, they needed to increase their capacity for taking in the divine being offered to them. Therefore, it was necessary to have Peter and John come from Jerusalem to Samaria to complete the grace started with Philip’s proclamation and miracles. After all Jesus did promise to send the Spirit to teach them all they needed to attain heaven. Through the laying on of hands by the apostles they received the power, strength and comfort to follow Jesus to the promised land of heaven.
God is good and the very essence of LOVE itself. God. We may think what He asks of us is too much for us but we need to remember that it is HIS grace, HIS gift of the Spirit that enables us to follow intimately with Jesus. We see in the first letter to Peter that we are to “sanctify our hearts to Christ”. We are not called in to just follow some pied piper, we are called AND EQUIPPED to follow Jesus the Son of God, with the power of the Holy Spirit and received back to the Father as a new person. Transformed into a new creation that is to be totally part of God and God with us (Emmanuel!). This intimacy is as deep as you can go and is satisfaction far beyond what the world, our current bodies or the enemy could ever offer us. But there is an “if” in Jesus’ invitation from today’s Gospel.
Jesus starts His invitation with the statement: “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 invites us to come closer to him. To love him and show that love by following him, by trusting in him that he is truly the “way to the Father” The way to heaven. He is our access, He made the way through his suffering, death and resurrection. We are now transformed by baptism and The Spirit with all the power necessary to become children of God, in good standing by obedience to the way of our first love, Jesus Christ.