YEAR C: HOMILY FOR THE 6TH SUNDAY OF EASTER
HOMILY THEME: HOLY SPIRIT –THE INVISIBLE TEACHER
BY: Fr. Gerald Musa
HOMILY: 1. PROMISE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT At the end of his ministry on earth, Jesus promised his followers the Holy Spirit, who is also known as the Paraclete, Advocate, Counsellor and Comforter. The Holy Spirit would serve as guide and reminder of truth. Jesus had much to say to his disciples, but he knew that his listeners could not absorb and digest everything at the same time (John 16:12-13). Therefore, the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Christ, Spirit of the Lord and Spirit of God) would come into the hearts of believers (Galatians 4:6) and continue to reveal to them the truth. Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to build, animate, sanctify believers and bear witness to the truth. This Holy Spirit, which Jesus breathed on the Apostles before his departure, would descend more dramatically on the day of Pentecost.
- MISSION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT Jesus pointed out two prominent roles of the Holy Spirit:
To teach all the things of God and guide into all the truth.
To be a reminder of truth
In summary, the principal roles of the Holy Spirit are to teach and remind. These two roles are important in our world today where there are many false prophets who lay claims to the truth and who end up as blind people leading the blind. In addition, we live in a world with too many confusing and conflicting messages. There are a myriad of erroneous and heretical teachings regarding religion and there are so many gullible people who consume these messages hook, line and sinker. So many people are contented with half-truth and make little or no efforts to search for the fullness of truth. On the other hand, we find people who are sincerely, continually and relentlessly searching for the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The Acts of the Apostles gives us a glimpse of the great works of the Holy Spirit in the life of the early Church. In the Book of Revelation the Apostle John recounts how the Spirit led him into seeing deep truths about the faith. Let us briefly look at the work of the Holy Spirit as Teacher and Reminder.
2.1. THE HOLY SPIRIT AS TEACHER The Holy Spirit teaches and reveals to us the depth of God, because our knowledge of spiritual things is limited. The Spirit assists people who seek the truth to search all things, even the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10). In addition, it is the spirit that teaches how to pray, because we do not know what to ask for or the language of the Spirit.
We went to schools and we had teachers who taught us different subjects and courses. We know God is the ultimate teacher. Jesus quoted the prophets of the Old Testament when he says, “And they shall all be taught of God” (John 6:45). Jesus himself taught the things of God and as he promised that the Holy Spirit would continue this work of teaching. How does the Holy Spirit teach, you may ask? The Holy Spirit teaches by inspiring, enlightening our hearts and minds with wisdom, knowledge and understanding. The Holy Spirit also acts as the still small voice that speaks to hearts and directs into the right path. Further, we can describe the Holy Spirit as the inward and invisible teacher making it possible for people to walk in the statures of God and observing his ordinances” (Ezekiel 36:27). In our ignorance and stubbornness, the Holy Spirit teaches us to do God’s will and to walk on level ground” (Psalm 143:10).
It is important to note that the Holy Spirit teaches only those who are humble, willing and disposed to learn.
2.2. THE HOLY SPIRIT AS REMINDER
The other prominent role of the Holy Spirit is that of reminder. The Spirit serves as a reminder because our memories are very short. We often listen and forget. At other times, we listen and go to sleep. Our tendency to forget and be carried away by sleep is among the reasons why we use alarms and diaries to remind us of our schedules and appointments. No doubt our minds are cluttered with so many other things.
The Holy Spirit constantly reminds us of those things that are helpful in our journey through life. We need to remember God’s past actions of salvation. For example when the people of Israel were afraid of their powerful enemies, God reminded them of how he saved them from Pharaoh and his powerful army in the past (Deuteronomy 7:18). Jesus also rebuked his disciples for their short memories. On one occasion when they complained of lack of bread, Jesus reminded them of his past miracles to rekindle their faith. He said, “You men of little faith, why do you discuss among yourselves that you have no bread? “Do you not yet understand or remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets full you picked up? “Or the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many large baskets full you picked up…?” (Matthew 16:8-10).
More still, the Holy Spirit helps to remind us of the goodness of God as when David recalled God’s goodness and exclaimed, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits…” (Psalm 103:1-2).
In a world that is drifting towards falsehood, we need the Holy Spirit to remind us and bring us back to the path of truth. As we prepare for the feast of Pentecost, let us pray that the Holy Spirit would not only reside in us, but also preside over our quest and thirst for the truth. May the Holy Spirit, which Jesus promised, come into all hearts and direct the leaders of the Church, civil authorities, as well as all teachers, preachers, professionals, every individual and household. Since we know the Holy Spirit is the ultimate teacher, we ought to have an intimate relationship with this great teacher who leads us into the depth of truth. We pray to the Holy Spirit the light of the intellect to enlighten us, to grant us the gift of wisdom, to impart on us the gift of understanding and to illuminate our darkened minds with the gift of knowledge.
6th Sunday of Easter; Acts of the Apostles 15:1-2, 22-29; Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23; John 14:23-29