Saturday, May 13, 2017

Homily Sixth Sunday of Easter Year A: Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo (2017)

Homily Sixth Sunday of Easter Year A: Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo (2017)
·         Acts 8:5-8, 14-17;
·         Ps 66:1-3, 4-5,6-7,16,20;
·         I Pet 3:15-18
·          John 14:15-21

Holy Spirit: Stimulant of Love and Hope..!
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 of this Gospel message 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.  He wants us to remain a community of hope. This is the point Peter stresses in the Second reading (1 Pet 3:15-18). Sometimes, this demand of Christ could be difficult, in the midst of daily challenges, poverty, terrorism, wars, and threats to wars and divisiveness, unless we appreciate that fact that Holy Spirit remains our guide and stimulates us to hope.
In the 1st reading, it is this same spirit that came upon the Samaritan when Peter and John prayed and laid hands on them (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, happiness and hope.
As we approach the Ascension and Pentecost, 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.
 What a journey. Sometimes we do feel the Spirit of God, the yearning for his love and truth that only God can give on our daily journeys, today. So also were the Disciples of Christ before Christ journeyed to the Cross in today’s Gospel (John 14:15-21). They are worried. But Christ reassures them he will send them another Advocate who will accompany them on their journeys of bearing witness to the resurrection. On their journeys of sharing their bread with the poor. In their journeys living together as a community. In their journeys of healing and forgiving sins in the name of Christ. In their journeys of keeping Christ’ commandments!
Various components of the Church (members and leaders) needs this spirit, this Advocate in today’s changing world. The church needs it in her evangelization. She needs it to challenge terrorism. She needs it to reach out to the poor. She needs it to challenge religious intolerance. She need it to challenge corrupt political capitals. She needs it to bear to perceive the smells of the sheep and to appreciate the ministry of Pope Francis. She needs it to celebrate and bear witness to hope in the resurrected Christ! May the Holy Spirit continue to inspire us, lead us, stimulate us to love and hope!
 Reflections Questions:
1.    Do we keep God’s commandments and encourage others to do the same?
2.    When last did we minister hope to the hopeless?
3.    Could you think of moments you expressly feel opened to the Advocate, the Holy Spirit in your life’s journey, irrespective of your location?