“The holy Spirit … will teach you everything and remind you of all that [I] told you” (Jn 14:26)

Sixth Sunday of Easter

ACTS 8:5-8, 14-17

Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed the Christ to them. With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing. For unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice, came out of many possessed people, and many paralyzed or crippled people were cured. There was great joy in that city. Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who went down and prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for it had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.

1 Peter 3:15-18

Beloved: Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the Spirit.

John 14:15-21

Jesus said to his disciples: "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, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows him. But you know him, because he remains with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you. 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."

Recently a group of high school friends who have scattered throughout the world and re-connected in the last few years by social media started a discussion about the pandemic. The discussion became heated, turned ugly, people began to accuse each other for being stubborn, judgmental and for spreading fake information. Then some people, myself included, tried to calm the group with messages of faith and solidarity; that we should entrust the pandemic to God, do our best to be on the lookout for each other, to lend a hand to those who need help and to observe guidelines of staying home, keeping a social distance to protect ourselves and others and so forth. We believe with faith that God will do the rest. This message did not go down too well and they, many of them Catholics, indeed “demand[ed] from [us] an accounting for the hope that is in [us]”; (1 Peter 3:16). To have to explain to a group the reason of my hope is a novel experience and of course I was not quite “ready to make my defense”, all I managed was to do it with “gentleness and reverence” as St. Peter teaches us (1 Peter 3:15).

To account for the hope we have in God, we can find reassurance in this Sunday’s Gospel reading. It is Jesus’ last discourse before his Passion when he said to his disciples: “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 forever” (John 14:14-15). “The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name – he will teach you everything and remind you of all that [I] told you” (Jn 14:26).

Jesus our teacher is thoughtful. He knows our weaknesses and we need help to reinforce our faith on our earthly journey. He has given us the Holy Spirit but are we listening? I still remember the homily I heard during a retreat many years ago. We have two ears, we must not use both to listen to the world, we must reserve one for listening to the Holy Spirit whose voice may become clearer if we pray with a faithful heart.

The Holy Spirit will help us remember Jesus’ words and deeds – the source of our faith and courage to entrust all to God and be able to make our everyday decisions in life according to his teaching. We will be able to live out Jesus’ commandment of love, “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you” (Jn 15:12).

In these difficult times, let us rise to the challenge to become witnesses of the Resurrected Christ, pray with reverence and faith, and to look out for each other in gentleness and love.

Posted: May 17, 2020

Shiu Lan

Shiu Lan is your Catholic neighbour with a simple faith and likes praying the Rosary. With a B.Sc from the University of Hong Kong, she worked in Information Technology and Project Management before working with joy at home.

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