Go! Week 2: Never Alone
Sixth Sunday of Easter: Go! Never Alone
This is the Sixth Sunday of Easter and our second week in our Homily series named “GO” in reference to the command of the Lord to Go and Announce the Gospel, the Good News of Salvation! The word Go is within “Gospel”.
As we prepare for the great feast of Pentecost, we are reminded in today’s readings and Gospel that the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us, wants to use us to bring the Gospel to those around us.
We are not called to be silent players in the plan of God but each of us has been commissioned by Christ through our Baptism to bring Christ and his message of salvation to the world.
We must not appear before our Lord empty handed but recognize he wants us to be his instruments in the world to make him known and loved. If we think of the beginnings of the early church, we see the Apostles along with the disciples. A relatively small number!
But look what they did! They went out into the world which often persecuted them and proclaimed the Gospel with courage! Lands which were once pagan embraced Christ and his Gospel. As these new converts were brought to Christ, they shared their faith with friends and family members. The Christian faith spread at an amazing pace.
The Holy Spirit was the constant companion of the early church and Continues to guide the Church but even more amazingly, He dwells in our souls! We are never alone! We are never orphaned! The Holy Spirit brings his divine light to our souls as a sweet guest giving us strength, courage, and fortitude to not only live the Gospel message of Christ, but to proclaim the Gospel! It’s important for us not to ignore the promptings of the Holy Spirit. We must listen to the Holy Spirit. He wants to guide us in our vocation here on earth and to assist us to reach our true home in heaven.
Jesus gave a Divine Mandate! Go out into the world and proclaim the Gospel! We are accompanied by the Holy Spirit to assist us, no matter what we face!
Today, more than ever we need the Holy Spirit. We live in a world which has embraced a secular style of living without God. We live in a world that has become corrupted by immorality.
We have the rejection of all that is sacred from the Commandments of God, the Sacredness of Human life, as well as the Divine Institution of Marriage. The early Christians were courageous in proclaiming Christ in a pagan world. We need to pray but we also need the courage of the early Christians to proclaim the Good News and the Freedom that Christ brings us from sin as we become children of God.
We often stop ourselves short and are muffled because we may fear how we will be perceived by others or what they will say of us. To assist us, Christ has promised the Holy Spirit to give us courage, strength and fortitude.
The Holy Spirit is our constant friend. As He did for the early church, He will also do for us! We must not be afraid to talk about Jesus, his Gospel and the call to conversion and salvation. We cannot hide and bury our heads in the sand. Where would the church be today if those early members did not go into the world or share their faith with their family, friends and strangers! Did you know that the Catholic faith was brought to Korea not by priests or missionaries, but by laymen who had traveled abroad to China and shared their new found catholic faith with family and friends when they returned to Korea.
Pope St. John Paul II called for a new Pentecost and a new Springtime for the Church to proclaim the Gospel. This is our time; this is our moment to bring Christ to the world. Are you open to the Holy Spirit? Are you Open to let him use you! The Holy Spirit also inspires us to serve within the Church. We need catechists to teach the faith to children, we need lectures, Eucharistic ministers, altar servers, and hospitality greeters. We need leaders of prayer groups and apostolic endeavors.
We need priests and religious and deacons! Is the Holy Spirit calling you to serve? Yes, He is! Everyone in this church has been given a role to play and a mission by God. We need to be open to the Holy Spirit, we need to be courageous and not be afraid of what God is calling us to or what people will think of us for proclaiming our faith.
Jesus teaches us today how we are to show our love towards him. Our Love is not to be just lip service but demonstrated by our response to observing the commandments. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. Jesus teaches us that our love is more than an emotional affection, it is more than just the words “I love you.”
Our Love is validated by our actions and our choices but specifically, He says by keeping the commandments. He even stresses this point twice! Why does Jesus repeat things? Many of you who have children may know Why! We are slow to listen, slow to respond, slow to understand. We Ignore God.
Jesus stresses: “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me.” To love Jesus as he wants us to love him is inseparable from keeping the commandments.
When we don’t keep the commandments, when we choose sin, we are rather choosing sin over God or in another perspective, we put ourselves and what we want above God, even when we know it offends God, which is a form of self idolatry.
St. Ignatius said, “It is not hard to obey when we love the one who we obey.”
St. Augustin put it another way, “Love God and do whatever you please: for the soul trained in love to God will do nothing to offend the One who is Beloved.”
Isn’t that beautiful? The person trained to love God will not do anything that offends God. So His will for us? Love Him by Keeping the Commandments”.
Jesus also reminds us that in following him and in doing his work we will never be alone. We have an advocate, the Holy Spirit, who dwells in our soul and assists us in so many ways. If God has placed his spirit within me, what am I to be afraid of? Nothing! How can I be afraid when God is so close to me, within me! I need only to unite myself to Him to be flooded with peace and tranquility no matter how great the storm is.
The Holy Spirit aims to make us better to ourselves first of all and then to be better to others. However, we must constantly keep ourselves united to the Holy Spirit and stay on the right path. So often we overlook the Holy Spirit who guides us with divine assistance in helping us to follow Christ and our mission of proclaiming the Gospel. He directs us to keep away from things, places or persons that are dangerous for our soul but are we listening to him? He directs us how to serve God and prepare for heaven but are we open to His guidance?
Jesus tells us very clearly of our heavenly Advocate that “He remains with us and will be in us.” This is the fruit of our baptism, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit assisting us in so many ways in helping us to be courageous in following Christ and to be faithful to Him. We are never alone.
It is through this gift of the Holy Spirit that we share in the unity of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Jesus said, the Holy Spirit remains in you… you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you. We are called to share in the Divine life of the Holy Trinity. Many saints have meditated and written about this most amazing Divine Truth, such as St. Theresa of Avila, that God Loves us so much He calls us to share in His Divine Life. I don’t think most of us can firmly fathom how profound and elevated this is as we are often distracted by the cares and worries of this world.
The Catechism teaches, “The word became flesh to make us partakers of the divine nature. For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man; so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of god. For the Son of God became man so that we might become God. The only begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.” God, who dwells in unapproachable light, wants to communicate His own divine life to men he freely created, in order to adopt them as his sons in his only begotten Son. By revealing himself, God wishes to make them capable of responding to him, and of knowing him and of loving him far beyond their own natural capacity.”
St. John says, “God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son, adding, “I have written this to you to make you realize that you possess eternal life.”
May we recognize God’s Gift of His Holy Spirit in our lives, may we listen to him and be open to His guidance and direction. May we unite ourselves to the Holy Spirit each day and pray to Him for inspiration, understanding and courage, especially when we are afraid.
Last week we asked you all to send us your input on how to share the Good News with others. This week, we want you to pick one of those actions and do it!
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you know what to do! He is with you! Be not afraid! The Holy Spirit is within you!