REFLECTIONS ON THE READINGS ON THE 6TH SUNDAY OF EASTER (A) 21TH MAY, 2017.
? Acts 8:5-8.14-17, Ps 66, 1Pet 3:15-18, Gosp Jn 14:15-21.
✍? FR. OGECHUKWU OKPULU.
? I WILL NOT LEAVE YOU ORPHANS.
We are gradually coming to the end of Easter season. The Gospel reading of today from St. John continues the farewell discourse of Jesus.
The parting of friends is never easy. But some partings are harder than others. The most painful parting of all happens when someone dies. What makes this parting different from all others is the finality of it.
Jesus for sometime had been giving the apostles hints of his death. But at the last supper, he talked to them openly about it. He spoke of his death as a going away to the Father but the disciples were sad because he was leaving them. Yes, he was leaving them but not the type that his disciples were thinking. They were thinking that he was going to leave them alone, abandoned and dejected. To be abandoned and rejected is the most painful and damaging thing that can happen to anyone, particularly in the case of the young and the elderly. But this was not the type Jesus was talking about.
Jesus’ leaving is a necessary one. It is for the good of his Apostles. He is going to his Father, so that he can send us the Holy Spirit. His departure will not leave them unsupported and unguided as they feared. Thus Jesus says; “I will not leave you orphan or desolate”.
Jesus promised to send them an advocate, the Holy Spirit, the spirit of truth to be with them always. Advocate is a translation of the Greek world Paraclete and it carries a range of meanings — counselor, comforter, helper, intercessor. It literally means one called alongside for help whenever necessary. In other words, the disciples need not to be troubled or afraid because they will never be alone. The Holy Spirit , the advocate, will always be with them to comfort them.
We see the evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit in the first reading, a continuation of last Sunday reading. After the appointment and commissioning of the seven deacons, there was great attack and persecution on the Church which led to the death of Stephen. So the apostles fled to different countries. Deacon Philip was among those who ran to Samaria and was successful in his missionary work , and he invited Peter and John to lay their hands on them so that the community receives the Holy Spirit.
In the second reading, St Peter wrote to the scattered Christian communities, urging them to be ready to defend the faith they professed. Being strengthened by the Holy Spirit they were able to endure persecutions, trials with joy and courage. They also did miraculous work, healing the sick, raised the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Beloved, Jesus has not and will never abandon or leave us desolate, the Holy Spirit is always with us to counsel, comfort and strengthen us at every moment of our lives. Always remember his promise: “I will not leave you orphans”
As we begin a new week, we pray that the Holy Spirit will direct all our thoughts, words and actions.??.
DO HAVE A PEACEFUL AND FRUITFUL WEEK AHEAD.??.