Saturday, May 24, 2014

Homily (2) 6th Sunday of Easter Year A: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo

Homily (2) 6th Sunday of Easter Year A: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
Reading: Acts 8:5-8, 14-17; Ps 66:1-3, 4-5,6-7,16,20; I Pet 3:15-18 and John 14:15-21

The Spirit Who Stimulates Our Love of God

In the Gospel reading of today (John14:15-21), Christ says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth…..”

This message of Christ comes to us on the eve of his ascension to God his father, which we shall celebrate on Thursday, or next Sunday. The point is that as Christ departs to the Father he wants us to be consistent in our Love for him, his teachings and in keeping God’s commandments.  Sometimes, it could be difficult, but this call to love and keep God’s precepts will be guided by the Holy Spirit promised us by Christ as he ascends to God his Father.

It is this same spirit that came upon the Samaritan when Peter and John prayed and laid hands on  them in the Acts of the Apostles, today’s first reading (Acts 8:5-8,14-17). But before Peter and John arrived to lay hands on them, we are told, with the grace of God, the Samaritans received healings because they paid attention to Christ Jesus, the wounded healer, proclaimed by Philip. Christ heals those who listen to him and brings them the spirit of joy and happiness and hope to those who pay attention to him and his precepts.

In fact, this spirit comes to us in a various ways. It comes to us in the readings we read, in the liturgy we celebrates the psalms and songs we sing and in the bread and cup we share. This spirit of God comes to us on our journeys and in the people we meet,  the peace we promotes and in the justice we champion. It comes in the sins we forgive and  in the wrongs we put right.

You all know last two weeks I led a pilgrimage to Poland, retracing the footsteps of Saints Faustina, Maximillian Kolbe and John Paul the II. It was a spirit-filled pilgrimage. We arrived at Warsaw May 13 and went to celebrate Holy Mass at St. James Church. This is the very Church that Saint first went to pray when she arrived at Warsaw- heading to join the convent of the Holy Mercy Sisters. The following day, May 14 went to 39 Zytnia Street, where we celebrated Mass at the Convent of the Holy Mercy Sisters.

Each of us  on the journey could feel the Spirit of God, the yearning for his love and truth that only God can give. On May 15 we proceeded to Niepokalanow and celebrated Mass at the Franciscan Monastery of Maximillian. We spent a great deal of time at the House and Museum of Maximillian Kolbe, who taught us how to love our enemies and die for one another. On May 16 we visited the Black Madonna, Our Lady of Czestochowa and celebrated Mass at the Holy Rosary Chapel of the Basilica of Jasna Gora. We embraced there the spirit of a loving mother. Went to Wadowice where we retrace the origin of Saint John Paul II, who taught us so much, especially how to trust in God and keep his commandments, irrespective of our cultures. We went to Auschwitz and Birkinau concentration camp. It was a sorrowful part of the journey- seeing “man inhumanity to man.”

 We were also at Zakopane, where we experience the spirit of God on the mountains. At Krakow we visited the Wielicka’s Salt Mines and celebrated Mass at St. John’s Chapel, about 300 meters in the Salt Mines. There, we learned we are called to be the salt of the earth, to preserve truth and God's words. We had private Mass at St. Mary’s Church Legiewniki and in the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy. All these we believe were guided by the Spirit of God, His love and Divine Mercy

Each day in our lives, this spirit enables us to defend the truth, embrace our crosses, and prepares us with answers and explanation, “to anyone who ask you for reason for your hope” which Saint Peter talks about in the 2nd reading (1 Pet 3:15-18). It enables us to condemn what Hitler did to the Jews. It brings hope where ever there is despair, joy in place of sadness and patience whenever we are met with temptation if impatience.

With the gift of the Holy Spirit may we joyfully continue to stick with Christ, embrace our crosses, follow the examples of the saints (Faustina, Kolbe, John Paul II), keep God’s commandments, remain in His love, and loved our neighbors as Christ has first loved us. Most importantly, allow the spirit to stimulate this love in us!