The Dwelling Place of the Holy Spirit

Sixth Sunday of Easter: Year A

Acts 8:5-8, 14-17
Psalm 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20
1 Peter 3:15-18
John 14:15-21

The Dwelling Place of the Holy Spirit

Discerning the Spirit of Truth in one’s life is to discover a unique and imperishable gift.  Early in salvation history, Moses was told to remove his sandals because the ground on which he stood was holy ground.  Likewise, Jesus reminds us today that our lives become the holy ground of God’s dwelling as we live in Him and he continues to live on in us.  Our gospel story recounts the fear the disciples encountered when Jesus spoke of his departure from this world to the next.  He assures them, however, that they would not be left orphaned because he would send them the Advocate, the Spirit of Truth, which would make them aware of the ongoing reality of his dwelling with them.  To put it more simply, the people of Christ were promised that they would never be alone!

Today, our solace, as a community of faith, is strengthened as we are reminded that Jesus lives on in his Word proclaimed, in the breaking of the bread, in the Church, and in our very being as baptized Catholic Christians.  The theology of the body that St. John Paul II spoke about recalls how our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and should be treated with dignity and respect.  As a community we are constantly called to seek the Lord in the interior silence of self — to discern God’s will and presence in our lives and to reverence such discovery with an adequate response.

Our first Pope, Peter, tells us in our second reading that we must sanctify Christ as Lord in our hearts.  We are invited to let the Lord take over our lives and rule them with a power and love beyond all telling.  The gift of this knowledge is a treasure, not of gold, but of a promise that will give us life.  If we remain in Jesus by loving him and those around us and if we live in the Spirit of truth, then our motivation to live God’s goodness will ultimately lead us to the gates of heaven and eternal life.  This means that to make sense of the Christian call in the midst of the modern world, we must simply follow his example and contemplate the wisdom of gospel.  Conscious of our vocation of baptism, we become aware that even though we may feel alone or broken from time to time, or shunned because we make a stand for the truth, that we are not alone.  Jesus lives on in us as we continue his mission and ministry on earth.

How do we accomplish the mission of Jesus here on earth?  We achieve Christ’s mission by allowing the Holy Spirit to work through us, moving us to touch the lives of others.  Many people share in the role of mother and father.  A mother or a father accomplishes the mission of Christ by instilling in their children values that will bring them to the threshold of eternal life.  These values speak to the inherent dignity that exists in every human person, that is, that all are called to love themselves in the purest of ways and others likewise.  The mission of Jesus is given to us a community of faith where we are to discern the needs of the community and in a concrete way respond to such needs.  It also means that we confront sinful structures that inhibit human dignity and true freedom.  Jesus was not afraid to stand up for the Truth.  Neither should we be afraid to embrace the Truth.  We must always live the Truth in love.  Christ was willing to walk with the outcast and the sinner, the forgotten and the broken, the ashamed and the lost. He always brought the light of transformation to these dark realities. We are called to be the Christ light for those who find themselves deprived of peace and acceptance.  This can only be achieved by listening to the voice and promptings of God’s Spirit moving through us.

Prayer

Lord, we know that we are not orphans, but children of an eternal kingdom.  Help us to recognize your presence among us.  Inspire us to embrace the Spirit of truth.  Transform us by the knowledge of truth.  May others experience you in the way that we speak and in the way we live.  Amen.

Questions

Jesus says, “I am in the Father.”  
What is the significance of this statement?  
What does it mean to Sanctify Christ in your heart?  
How does the Holy Spirit help your life?  
How do you love Christ and keep his commandments?  
Are you convinced in your reason to have hope?  
Name the ways in which you give witness to the hope in which you believe?  
How does your baptism enable you to enter the ongoing story of the early Church?  
How does Jesus live on in you?  
Explain the ways in which you can participate in the healing ministry of Christ today. 

Wisdom of the Fathers

“The Holy Spirit, in his mysterious bond of divine communion with the Redeemer of man, is the one who brings about the continuity of his work: he takes from Christ and transmits to all, unceasingly entering into the history of the world through the heart of man. Here he becomes… the true “father of the poor, giver of gifts, light of hearts”; he becomes the “sweet guest of the soul,” whom the Church unceasingly greets on the threshold of the inmost sanctuary of every human being. For he brings “rest and relief” in the midst of toil, in the midst of the work of human hands and minds; he brings “rest” and “ease” in the midst of the heat of the day, in the midst of the anxieties, struggles and perils of every age; he brings “consolation,” when the human heart grieves and is tempted to despair…

Praying thus, the Church unceasingly professes her faith that there exists in our created world a Spirit who is an uncreated gift. He is the Spirit of the Father and of the Son: like the Father and the Son he is uncreated, without limit, eternal, omnipotent, God, Lord. 293  This Spirit of God “fills the universe,” and all that is created recognizes in him the source of its own identity, finds in him its own transcendent expression, turns to him and awaits him, invokes him with its own being. Man turns to him, as to the Paraclete, the Spirit of truth and of love, man who lives by truth and by love, and who without the source of truth and of love cannot live. To him turns the Church, which is the heart of humanity, to implore for all and dispense to all those gifts of the love which through him “has been poured into our hearts.” 294  To him turns the Church, along the intricate paths of man’s pilgrimage on earth: she implores, she unceasingly implores uprightness of human acts, as the Spirit’s work; she implores the joy and consolation that only he, the true Counselor, can bring by coming down into people’s inmost hearts…”

— St. John Paul II, “Dominum et Vivificantem,” 32.  May 18, 1986

image: St. John Paul II (then Pope John Paul II) in Rome, Italy, 1980/Wikimedia Commons

 

 

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