BY: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE


HOMILY: It is the Holy Spirit who leads us to witness to the truth of the Gospel through the powerful effects of His seven gifts to us and His nine fruits in us. The Spirit brings us to communion and unity with God and with our brothers and sisters. In preparing to welcome Him anew into the Church and into our lives, we demonstrate our readiness to live according to the mind of Christ and to cooperate with Him in the spread of the Kingdom of God. May our preparation be fruitful; Amen.

We are in the liturgical moment of expectation as through the Novena to the Holy Spirit we prepare for the celebration of the Feast of Pentecost, a moment of grace and power, a season of renewal and revival in which the Holy Spirit is poured afresh into the Church and into our hearts. The sound of the wind of this preparation echoes in the Church and in all ecclesia communities and the message is clear as we heard in the Second Reading of today (Rev. 22:12-14, 16-17, 20) “the Spirit and the Bride say, come. Let everyone who listen answer, come. Then let all who are thirsty come: all who want it may have the water of life, and have it free.” This is exactly the vocabulary of the Church within this period; “Veni Creator Spiritus – come Holy Spirit – blow wherever you will.” There is indeed need for this august Guest. He is the one who inspires and strengthens us to realise all we truly stand for as Christians. The readings refresh our minds of the effects of the presence and operations of the Holy Spirit in the ecclesia communities and in the personal lives of believers. Saint Stephen was “filled with the Holy” and this gave him the courage to witness to the truth, the wisdom to speak and certainly his speech was full of knowledge; knowledge of God and of heavenly things; “I can see heaven thrown open and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God.” Beyond the courage to witness to the truth, the Holy Spirit also gave Saint Stephen the courage to forgive his oppressors; “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” We can only freely surrender our human spirits to God when we are filled and are led by the Holy Spirit. This is when our human spirits can cooperate with the dictates and directions of the Divine Spirit. To be in dissonance with the movement and operation of the Holy Spirit is the clearest sign of being empty of Him. This is when it becomes difficult to witness to the truth in words and deeds! This is when it seems unthinkable and foolish to forgive! This is when hope is lost and fatalistic options are embraced! This is when life loses all of its meaning and the future becomes so dark and scary! This is when it seems unrealistic to hope and work for visible unity among God’s sons and daughters!

Against all of these odds, the Spirit of God unites. He blesses the community of believers with variety of gifts and charisms, and leads them to overcome their differences and to synthesis these varied gifts and charisms and therefore to become one in mind and heart. He leads all believers to live according to the mind of Christ expressed in His Priestly Prayer said on our behalf to His Father in the Gospel Reading of today (Jn 17:20-26); “Father, may they be one in us, as you are in me and I am in You.” God is One in three divine persons living in absolute unity. Being the very fount and source of unity, it is fitting that His sons and daughters become one as Christ prayed and willed. This is possible only when we give the Spirit of God the chance to work in us and through us, for it is the Holy Spirit who inspires and leads us to unity. Hence, as we continue on our Novena Prayer to the Holy Spirit, we must also pray for the grace to be filled with the Holy Spirit and for the docility to cooperate with the Holy Spirit and to follow whichever path He directs us without hesitation or proposal of alternative destructive personal agenda.

Come Holy Spirit and fill the hearts of the faithful and enkindle in every one of us the fire of your love; Amen.

Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE



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