Sixth Sunday of Easter
God has worked wonders in the Death and Resurrection of Christ, who promises us the gift of the Spirit to be with us always.
In Catholicism, Lectio Divina (from the Latin for Holy Reading) is a traditional monastic practice of scriptural reading, meditation, and prayer intended to promote communion with God and to increase the knowledge of God's word. For the practitioner, it follows a common rhythm of quiet reading (often aloud to oneself), of thoughtful meditation and contemplation on what one has read, and then, if so moved, of a prayerful dialogue with God in response to what one has encountered in scripture. This reflective, meditative active listening, if you will, allows the Holy Spirit to deepen one's awareness of God's presence and invites His initiative to speak with us.
Acts 8:5–8, 14–17
Psalm 66:1–7, 16, 20
1 Peter 3:15–18
LISTEN: I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. (Jn 14:18)
A reading from the holy Gospel according to 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.”
Jesus will not leave us alone. He won’t make us children of God in Baptism only to leave us “orphans,” He assures us in today’s Gospel (see Romans 8:14–17).
He asks the Father to give us His Spirit, to dwell with us and keep us united in the life He shares with the Father.
We see the promised gift of His Spirit being conferred in today’s First Reading.
The scene from Acts apparently depicts a primitive Confirmation rite. Philip, one of the first deacons (see Acts 6:5), proclaims the Gospel in the non-Jewish city of Samaria. The Samaritans accept the Word of God (see Acts 17:11; 1 Thessalonians 2:13) and are baptized.
It remains for the Apostles to send their representatives, Peter and John, to pray and lay hands on the newly baptized—that they might receive the Holy Spirit. This is the origin of our sacrament of Confirmation (see Acts 19:5–6), by which the grace of Baptism is completed and believers are sealed with the Spirit promised by the Lord.
We remain in this grace so long as we love Christ and keep His commandments. And strengthened in the Spirit whom Jesus said would be our Advocate, we are called to bear witness to our salvation—to the tremendous deeds that God has done for us in the name of His Son.
In today’s Psalm, we celebrate our liberation. As He changed the sea into dry land to free the captive Israelites, Christ suffered that He might lead us to God, as we hear in today’s Epistle.
This is the reason for our hope—the hope that sustains us in the face of a world that cannot accept His truth, the hope that sustains us when we are maligned and defamed for His name’s sake.
Put to death in the flesh, He was brought to life in the Spirit, Paul tells us today. And as He himself promises: “Because I live, you will live.”
A Gospel reflection as published, Alive in the Spirit: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Sixth Sunday of Easter, at St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology.
PRAY: On this Sixth Sunday of Easter let us pray to be a disciple of Jesus: One who loves Him; and in loving him, follows all that He commands. Come, Holy Spirit.
Lord, if we love you, we will keep your commandments. That is what you asked of your closest disciples who lived and walked, who ate and drank with you. Let us heed your loving invitation to keep all that you command; Help us be instruments of your grace. Fill our hearts with your love that we may be filled by the power of the Holy Spirit and courageously proclaim you to the culture today; We live in a secular world - a post-Christian age; fill our cups, Lord, until they overflow. Enflame our hearts that we may set the world ablaze; consume us with the fire of your love; Set the whole world afire. Amen.
Be not afraid! And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always. Holy Family pray for us. Amen.