YEAR C: HOMILY FOR THE 6TH SUNDAY OF EASTER
HOMILY THEME: GOD DWELLS IN THE HEART OF THOSE WHO LOVE AND KEEP HIS WORDS.
BY: Fr. Clem C. Aladi
HOMILY: GOSPEL: JN 14:23-29.
The indwelling Spirit shall teach him what is of God and what is not. This is why sometimes we can conjure up no logical reason for opposing a certain teaching, yet in the very depth of our being arises a resistance .
Happy Sunday my dearest brethren in Christ. On this 6th Sunday of Easter the word of God reminds us of the indwelling of the spirit of God in our lives, in the church, and our responsibility in nurturing God’s dwelling by loving God and keeping His words, doing what is really necessary in our religious worship and avoiding burdening our selves or others with frivolous demands- culturally or legally.
The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the action by which God takes up permanent residence in the body of a believer in Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament, the Spirit would come and go from the saints, empowering them for service but not necessarily remaining with them (see Judges 15:14; 1 Chronicle 12:18; Psalm 51:11; Ezekiel 11:5). Jesus revealed to His disciples the new role the Spirit of Truth would play in their lives: “He lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:17). The apostle Paul wrote, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20).
The first reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, tells us how the Holy Spirit, indwelling in the Church, helped the apostles to solve a major doctrinal problem about the Gentiles becoming Christians, which shook the very foundation of the early Church. Like those brothers from Judea imposing the burden of circumcision and making it a necessary condition for salvation, we often impose on people or blow certain frivolities out of proportion today in our churches, making such look like they are the core requirements for religious worship or what is not really essential to the worship of God. Religion has become a burden to many, many are dropping from churches as a result of unnecessary demands from “some brothers” in our Churches. Let us not forget what is really necessary- to keep the commandments of God and to love God and our neighbour- this is what will lead one to heaven. When we allow the spirit of God and not human desires to control the affairs of the church, we make decisions like the Apostles in the early church worthy of the saying ” we and the holy spirit”.
The second reading, taken from the Book of Revelation, describes the Church as the Heavenly Jerusalem which replaces the holy presence of God in the Holy of Holies in the Temple in Jerusalem. This New Jerusalem is a city united in love, with the victorious Jesus residing in it and in each of its members.
The Gospel passage reminds us that the Holy Spirit, abiding within us, is our Teacher, Advocate and the Source of peace and joy. The passage offers a vision of hope as well. Jesus promises his followers that the Holy Spirit will come and instruct them in everything they need to know.
We need to allow God to dwell in us by living holy lives. God does not dwell in a sinful soul. We make our bodies unhabitable for God when we indulge in sin. We expel God from our lives, society and churches by acts of injustice, slavery, child abuse, human trafficking, embezlling public funds, prostitution, drug addictions etc. Nature they say abhors a vacuum, so if the spirit of God does not dwell in a soul, another spirit takes over. This accounts for many of the terrible and terrific behaviours we experience among humans in the world today. When the spirit of God dwells in a soul, the words, actions, and everything that comes from the person is godly. When godly people gather to make decisions, their decisions will always contribute meaningfully and positively to the betterment of the human condition. We need to dispose ourselves and daily prepare strive to make our soul and our bodies a dwelling place fit for the spirit of God. Let us prepare this year for another Pentecost experience.
Let us be aware of the abiding presence of God within us: We live in the New Covenant of Jesus, daily facing uncertainty, conflict, and temptations. It is the abiding presence of God within us that enables us to face the future with undying hope and true Christian courage . The Holy Spirit Whom the risen Lord asked His Father to send upon His Church prompts us to turn to His Holy Scriptures for support and encouragement, enables us to learn the Divine truths, and grants us His peace at all times
We need to have the conviction that we are not alone: One of the great social and ethical problems of our time is isolation. Today approximately 25% of all adults live alone. Spouses, parents and children often live as virtual strangers to one another. This is unfortunate because we never need to be alone. Jesus can always be present to us. He shares his joy with us and replaces the burden of our guilt with the freedom of forgiveness. He takes our grief and turns it into joy. We need only allow Jesus into our lives to be rid of this loneliness. Oneness with Jesus is the greatest gift we can give our children, our friends, or those who see no purpose in life.
In this mass we pray that our pertaking in this Eucharistic banquet will increase our love for God and obedience to His words, so that God my find our bodies and souls a temple fit for His dwelling.
Prayer : Spirit of God make my soul a dwelling place for you. Come and dwell within my soul. I am empty without you. Come fill the emptiness in me, come fill me with your love. Dwell in me and never depart from me. Amen.
I keep you and your family always in my Prayers.
Fr. Clem C. Aladi