The 6th Sunday of Easter – The Homily
What is the Holy Spirit?
- Is it a representative of God,
- Or a dove that descends on us,
- Or a point of fire over our heads?
- Is it simply a dose of “grace” that we receive in order to be holy?
- Or a “divine assist” that Jesus and the Father send to give us a break from a difficult situation?
- Or is it some kind of power coming from God to get us to do stuff for God? No.
According to Saint Louis University composer and scholar, Fr. John Foley, The Holy Spirit is:
First, God – the complete, true, reality of God.
Second, the Spirit is marked by Jesus’ entire life. That means his birth, his growth, his maturing, his death and resurrection – the good, the bad and the glorious.
Third, the Spirit is also an “offer.” If we accept, our lives mingle with God’s own reality
… and we become something new – a vessel for an incarnate God.
We do not decide to accept this offer from the Holy Spirit all at once. This is accomplished in stages:
- Stage 1 – acceptance and understanding
- Stage 2 – personal spiritual practices and personal religious experiences. Developing a “closeness” to Christ
- Stage 3 – from an awareness of Christ’s presence and involvement – to a total redefinition of their identity and, correspondingly, a totally new redefinition of their lifestyle.
Stage 3 is what the scripture writers mean when Jesus talks about “friendship.” Friendship is not being Jesus’ pal. Friendship with Jesus means we become something new.
Remember I said that the Holy Spirit marked by Jesus’ entire life – his birth, his growth, his maturing, his death and resurrection – the good, the bad, the glorious. When you’re God’s vessel, and you are Holy Spirit filled, you are intentionally placed a specific situation to save it, to change it into something better, to redeem it.
OR you are intentionally placed with a specific PERSON, to save THEM, to change THEIR situation into something better, to redeem THEM.
In today’s Gospel of John (15:9-17) Jesus said to his disciples:
You are my friends if you do what I command you. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. I chose to fill you and appointed you to go and bear fruit. Go out and save something. Go out and save someone.
Final point. How do we know where to go, to whom to go to or what to do? Pray to the Holy Spirit and ask Him. He’ll let you know.
In closing, here’s a prayer:
Lord, unplug our ears so we can hear The Spirit – the same Holy Spirit who fell upon those who heard Peter preach.
The Spirit who sings in the streams of summer,
who cries out within the hungry,
who calls out to the lost,
who speaks comfort to the lonely,
who whispers inside our souls.
A Spirit that offers joy, love and divine friendship.
[From Anne Osdieck found in “Discussion Questions, Knowing God.“]
Audio version of the homily is here: