6TH SUNDAY OF EASTER
This weekend we celebrate the 6th Sunday of Easter. It seems no time since we began Holy Week on Palm Sunday and now we are heading into Ascension and then Pentecost Sunday which is often called the birthday of the Church. In this Sunday Gospel Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit to the apostles as the advocate. Although Jesus had spoken to the Apostles and told them many different things, he knew them well and realized that they wouldn’t remember everything he said Jesus also knew that they would have to endure many struggles, that they would have to face ambiguity and confusion, difference and disagreement. They would not see eye to eye on everything; they would have different memories of Jesus; they would emphasise different things. In the conflicts that would arise they would have to put their faith to work. That is why he told them and he tells us that the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in his name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you. These words are a direct pointer towards Pentecost and the gifts that the Holy Spirit would bring to them as well as us.
We don’t have the physical presence of Jesus with us the way his first disciples did when he talked with them around the table at the Last Supper, washed their feet, and gave them his reassuring promises. His farewell to them was a real farewell he was going, he would no longer be with them as he had been. But he assured them and us that he is present in a different way, in his gift of the Holy Spirit. In the Gospel Reading Jesus also promised the Apostles Peace ‘A peace that the world cannot give.’ Sometimes we mistake this peace for our idea of quietness or tranquillity, but the peace the Jesus gives is a peace that can be found even in the midst of turmoil. This peace is not something we can manufacture ourselves by our own power. It’s a gift that comes from Jesus, who doesn’t want to lose touch with us. Jesus chose his followers to carry out God’s plan of salvation. He chooses us today to do the same. By allowing us to participate in his work of redemption, he gives us a personal stake in the Kingdom of God. If we keep on trusting in the presence of the Spirit to us, we will have peace in the midst of any personal, family, or community turmoil that comes our way as well as someone who will keep us going along the right Road!