SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, YEAR A.
21st May 2017.
Acts 8:5-8, 14-17; 1Peter 3:15-18; John 14:15-21.
The Holy Spirit is the force behind the resurrection faith. Since faith in the risen Christ is the message of the gospel, the apostles exhibited before the people the power of God. In the readings of this last Sunday before the great ascension of our lord Jesus Christ into heaven, demand is made of us to obey the commandments as a sign of our love for God. The promise of the advocate is the force that replace timidity with boldness.
Persecution was meant to put out the fire of the gospel. Unfortunately, the force behind the resurrection story, namely the Holy Spirit is motivating the apostles to take the good news to wherever they find themselves. The first reading records the testimony of Stephen in Samaria, a pagan territory. The miracles and the signs that came from him built the faith of the Samarians, such that when they accepted the word of God, they received the Holy Spirit.
St. Peter advices the church to ‘reverence the lord’ i.e. to obey his commandments in order to be found without fault. The commandments of God does not oppose human life rather is fulfils the basic demands of life. The Christian faith is geared towards a true fulfilment of human life. It is human in the sense that it promotes peace and tolerance among people. ‘With courtesy and respect and with a clear conscience’, Christians give answer to faith in God. The work of the Holy Spirit is made visible in connection with the foundation of faith – resurrection.
What the Holy Spirit does is to enable us to act with courage in our defense and living out the faith in the risen Christ. Unaided by the Holy Spirit, love is difficult. Thus through God’s commandment guided and aided by the Holy Spirit, we are able to love God. ‘If you love me you will keep my commandments’.
Anthony Ekpunobi, CM.