6th Sunday Of Easter-Year A.
Commentary Theme for this Sunday:
“The Promise Of The Spirit”.
The first reading shows the apostles calling for the Spirit by means of the ‘imposition of hands’ and the many different ‘Gifts’ that the Spirit can bring in accordance to God’s Plan for us.
The second reading is a concrete and practical application to this teaching. This happens to the lives of persecuted Christians who know that they will always have the Divine Paraclete with them.
The main theme of today’s readings is the promise to send the Paraclete, the ‘Spirit of Truth’. The Spirit’s coming will be solemnly celebrated in the feast of Pentecost. Besides the promise, today’s Gospel spells out how to prepare to receive the Spirit.
It is recommended that the actual readings are first studied and then meditated upon with a prayer to the Holy Spirit to grant you the gift of ‘wisdom’ to understand the meaning of the messages of Love, Forgiveness and the Offer of Salvation that the Lord has for each one of us in the Holy Bible.
These commentaries, which have been extracted and summarised for our meditation are from the published works of priests who have by their Divine inspiration become acclaimed scholars of the Scriptures and generally reflect the Church’s understanding of the readings.
These commentaries are not meant to replace the Sunday Homily at Holy Mass but are provided as an additional guide to assist and further enhance our understanding of the Sunday Liturgical Readings.
‘Daily Reflections’ and a Prayer are included to enable us to ‘Live the Word’ during the week following the Sunday Mass. We will begin to understand the meaning of gratuitous love and our life’s true purpose. Through His Word we will follow the Light to help fulfil the mission that has been given to each one of us by our Creator.
“In the Old Testament the ‘New’ is hidden.
In the New Testament the ‘Old’ is laid open”.
Acts 8:5-8, 14-17.
Today’s first reading tells us what happened to Phillip. He was one of the seven deacons chosen to serve to the poor, as we saw last Sunday. He was a Hellenist, and he had to flee northwards towards Samaria in order not to be killed like Stephen. As soon as he arrived there he begun preaching and baptizing all those who believed in Christ. The Holy Spirit accompanied this missionary, gave power to his words and confirmed what he announced with signs. The lives of the people were transformed and there was great rejoicing in the whole town.
The second part of the reading shows the Apostles Peter and John paying a visit to the newly baptized of Samaria. They felt that the ‘Mother Church of Jerusalem’ should keep this bond of unity with the new Churches. Soon after their arrival, the apostles imposed their hand on the new Christians so that they may receive the Holy Spirit.
You may say: How could the Samaritans have been baptized without receiving the Holy Spirit? As we know, in the early Church the coming of the Spirit manifested itself also through extraordinary signs, like speaking in strange languages, prophesying, performing miracles; all this had not yet taken place among the Samaritans. As soon as Peter and John laid hands on them they received the Holy Spirit.
Psalm 66:1-7a, 16, 20.
The Psalm, traditionally a Resurrection hymn, thanks God for the new Life he won for his people. The Exodus from Egypt and deliverance from Babylon can be understood as types of the Resurrection of Jesus.
The psalmist, of course, knows nothing of Easter, but he knows the God who raised Jesus from the dead: ‘sing to God, all the earth, play a melody to the glory of his name’.
It becomes obvious that the psalmist is looking back to the immense crisis of the liberation from Egypt: ‘he turned the sea into dry land – in the river they crossed on foot”.
God could have acted differently, and that is what gives the psalmist’s praise its edge: ‘Blessed be God, because he didn’t turn away my prayer, nor his steadfast love from me’.
1 Peter 3:15-18.
In the second reading, Peter exhorts the Christians not to give in to feelings of discouragement because of the persecution which has just begun and which, incidentally, with ups and downs was to last for about 250 years. How should Christians behave in this kind of situation? They must feel Christ near them, “but sanctify Christ in your hearts” (15). It is better to suffer for good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil.
Secondly, the Christians must always be ready to respond to those who ask why they trust and hope and what inspires them. Hence the need to be deeply convinced of the reasons for one’s faith, so as to be able to justify to oneself and to others, one’s behaviour, which, if consistent with the Gospel, is bound to raise perplexities and questions in the non-believer.
The hearts of the aggressors would be open to Play Blackjack, roulette casino or Craps for $1 per hand, spin or roll Sunday-Thursday 11am-6:30pm AND Midnight-3am. receive and accept the truth if one uses kind and welcoming words, which shows great respect and love for them. The passage ends by calling attention to the example of Christ.
Today’s Gospel is the continuation of last Sunday’s. It is therefore part of the first of the ‘farewell speeches’ of Jesus at his Last Supper. The disciples have finally understood that Jesus is about to leave them; they are sad and are asking themselves how would it be possible to keep staying close to him and love him if he goes away.
Jesus then promises not to leave them alone, without protection and guidance; he says he will ask the Father to send his Spirit who will always be with them. Jesus stresses that love is shown by remaining faithful to his Word and to the Commandments. This faithfulness, first of all, is only possible through the gift of the Advocate. That is not all. Jesus will come in person and live with his own (v. 18-21). Here Jesus is speaking of his ‘invisible permanent presence’ within his community after his Resurrection.
The insistence on the observance of the Commandments underlines the realism of John: the proof of faith in action. Finally, the question asked by Judas (not the Iscariot) allows Jesus to be more precise and to say that he will come back with the Father (v. 23-24). There are conditions to their coming: the love of his disciples for him and the obeying of the Commandments.
Jesus promises ‘the One who will come after him … the Spirit of Truth’, will take up his dwelling within us. We are not left as orphans. Jesus remains with us, and within us, through the Spirit. The Spirit who will help the disciples and us to better understand the teaching he gave throughout his ministry. Jesus knew that down the centuries new situations would arise. How could they be solved? How could his disciples come to know his thoughts?
Here is where the Spirit comes in to help us discover the truth. He will not say anything new, or contrary to what was said by Jesus, he will only help us to understand the message of Christ to the full. Christians have the duty to follow the inspiration of the Spirit leading them to discover new and wonderful things. The Spirit is the one who ‘renews the face of the earth’. One person alone cannot fully understand what the Spirit is saying to us today. Reflection on what God wants of us today as Jesus’ disciples has to be done in common with the whole community.
As a true disciple of Jesus we must understand that the ‘Spirit of Truth’, the ‘Divine Paraclete’ is only a Helper, not a divine power that replaces personal effort. We have the duty to follow the inspiration of the Spirit leading us to discover new things. We like the apostles have to be ready to do work ourselves. Like the apostles we are not dispensed from trying to understand the implications of the life and teachings of Jesus. Through the ages, disciples of Jesus will face new challenges of applying the Master’s life and teachings to the situations of a changing world in their own time and culture.
The search for the meaning and implication of the Gospel for today has to be common effort. The need to unite in order to achieve a common goal is well expressed in an African proverb: “one broomstick alone cannot sweep”. Reflection on what God wants of us today as Jesus’ disciples has to be done as a community.
‘I will not leave you orphans; I will come back to you’.
‘Acknowledgement and Thanks’ to ‘Recommended Source Material’ by:
Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Fr. Fernando Armellini SCI, Peter Edmonds SJ, Richard Baawobr M.Afr, Joseph A. Slattery Ph.D, Adelmo Spagnolo MCCJ, Silvester O’Flynn OFM Cap, J.E. Spicer CSsR, John R. Donahue SJ and Alice Camille – Master’s degree in Divinity.
Reflections for each day this Week to
lead us in the ‘Way’:
Almighty God and Father, on the … of the week following the 6th Sunday of Easter, Year A, we reflect on ….
Sun… In the first reading the Spirit accompanied Phillip on his mission and gave power to his words and confirmed what he announced with signs. When we undergo a full conversion of the heart the Spirit is with us in our daily lives. We too will see the signs of the Spirit if we allow ourselves to be led in the ‘Way’.
Mon… It is the Spirit in the Church that unites us together as brothers and sisters in Christ and in gratuitous love for each other. We may not be speaking in strange languages but we all are part of this special sign and miracle, the healing miracle of love.
Tues… We need to become active members of God’s family, the Mystical Body of Christ; a branch on the ‘Vine’, pruned regularly and nourished by the saving graces given to us by the Lord through the Sacraments. When we willingly cut ourselves off from the ‘Vine’ we will wither and die spiritually.
Wed… As Christians we must not give into feelings of discouragement because of persecutions and sufferings. We need to see the connection between suffering, death and resurrection. If we fail to see the link then life becomes meaningless. Was it not necessary for Christ to suffer and so enter his glory? Is there another ‘Way’?
Thur… Jesus promises that the ‘One’ who will come after him, the ‘Spirit of Truth’, will take up his dwelling within us. We are not to be left as orphans. Jesus remains with us and within us through the Spirit. We need therefore to make ourselves ‘living temples’ in which the Holy Spirit is invited to dwell.
Frid… The Holy Spirit will help us to discover the ‘Truth’. He will not say anything new or contrary to what was said by Jesus. He will help us to understand the message of Christ to the full and in particular what it means for us on our journey to salvation.
Sat… We need to follow the inspirations of the Spirit who will lead us to discover new and wonderful things. Like the apostles we need to fully understand the implications of the life and teaching of Jesus and to be prepared to face up to the difficulties and sometimes painful challenges in applying the Master’s ‘Way’.
Prayer after the Daily Reflection.
Father, we pray that by Your grace and blessing we discover the ‘Promise of the Spirit’ within us. Through prayer and Your Gospel and by understanding Your teachings, may we discover the warm presence of God-in-us; a ‘Spring of Water’, welling up to eternal life.
This we ask through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. Amen.
Compliments: Bible Discussion Group. Our Lady of the Wayside, Maryvale.
“Discovering the Truth through God’s living Word”.