Homily for the sixth Sunday of Easter - Year C - Jn. 14:23-29


by

Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen
 
 

" Jesus said, «If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me.»


" «These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.»


" «Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, 'I go away, and I will come to you.' If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place, you may believe.» "




Homily:


" Jesus said, «If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me.» "


Step by step, we approach the day, blessed among all others, when the Lord will go up to Heaven and return to his Father. Easter season nears its end. Soon, the feast of Pentecost will help us to remember when the Holy Spirit first came down upon the Apostles and disciples gathered together in the Cenacle with Mary, the Mother of Jesus. We must think and believe, as Jesus himself invited us to do, that his "departure" was the best thing possible for us: "If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father." (Jn. 14:28)


The words of this Sunday's Gospel were spoken by Jesus just before his first departure to Heaven: the "departure" that he accomplished on the wood of the Cross. Jesus teaches his disciples, he prepares them for the coming separation; above all, he prepares them for a better future! For his "departure" will be beneficial to all! But, in order for this future to be better, there is a condition: we must love Jesus! If we love Jesus, then the Father will enter into us, and the Son as well, and also the Holy Spirit! "If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him."


But what is it to love Jesus? Quite simply, to love Jesus is to love one's brother, one's sister, to love one's neighbor. For Jesus himself is "the first-born among many brethren" (Rm. 8:29). If we truly love Jesus our brother, then we will want nothing other than his happiness, his glory, his eternal peace! Now, it is only in Heaven that this can be; it is only by wholeheartedly accepting the "departure" of Jesus to Heaven that we truly love Jesus our brother. And this is precisely what brings us our own happiness, for if Jesus leaves, then he will return, with the Father and the Holy Spirit! A paradox? Yes, as is often the case in the Gospel...


" «These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.» "


After his "departure" to Heaven, Jesus does not return immediately. He will first wait a little, up there, with the Father. And in the fullness of time, at the end of time, he will return to earth. Meanwhile, with the Father, he sends us his Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit helps us to be patient and to prepare for the coming of Jesus and the Father. Above all, the Holy Spirit incites us to desire the coming of the Lord: "The Spirit and the Bride say, Come." (Rev. 22:17) And there is only one means that can incite this desire: that of placing in our memory, by the power of the grace of God, the image and the almost complete outline of what Jesus truly is as the Son of the Father, namely, the human words of the Son of God or the Word of the Father!


In the Church, the Holy Spirit unceasingly acts to lead us to think of Jesus and his Father. But his principal action, which is absolutely unique, is that which he exercises through the sacrament of the Eucharist. For here, in this sacrament, the priest, in the name of Christ, celebrates the Memorial of the Lord. Here, the words that Jesus had spoken to his disciples are once again proclaimed in the assembly of the faithful; here, truly, though in the vision of faith, Jesus already returns in us, sacramentally anticipating our ultimate encounter with him at the end of our life! Here, Love is King!


" «Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, 'I go away, and I will come to you.' If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place, you may believe.» "


Jesus is the Great Prophet come into the world: Jesus announces the coming of the Holy Spirit, on the day of Pentecost. This will be the ultimate proof of his divinity. For Jesus, it is important, very important, that his disciples believe in him as the envoy of the Father, as he to whom the Father gave the order to reveal his own Life at the price of the redemptive sacrifice of the Cross. For Jesus, this is truly fundamental: his disciples must truly believe that everything he had said to them is the Truth that leads to Life - not only for them, but also for the men and women who would come after them, throughout the ages.


Ever since the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit is here, on earth, to guide the Church of God in order that the message of Christ might be faithfully preserved and transmitted, from generation to generation, by means of both the Holy Scriptures and the Eucharist. Founded on the faith of the Apostles, the Christians of every age, like you and me, are called by the Holy Spirit to put their faith in the words of the Lord. Then, the Father will come, and Jesus with him: all will be but one in God and the Peace of the Lord will reign everywhere! "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."


If there is a model of faith that we should all imitate, it is Mary, the Mother of God and the Wife of the Holy Spirit. Let us ask her to nurture in us the virtue of faith, as well as the virtues of hope and charity. Thus, through Mary, the kingdom of God the Father will spread throughout the world and the Peace of the Lord will be shared by all nations! Amen!



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