Sixth Sunday of Easter

May 5, 2024

Love One Another; The Gift of the Holy Spirit

  1. Continuation of Easter Celebration
    1. Sixth Sunday of Easter
    2. We are preparing for the Great Feast of Pentecost
    3. The Gift of the Holy Spirit poured out upon the Church

 

  1. All of today’s readings direct our attention to the Holy Spirit, whom we prepare to receive again this Pentecost
    1. To help understand the Holy Spirit and the Trinity, please think of:
      1. A close friend you can’t do without
      2. Life and love with your spouse
  • Live, love with your family

 

  • So what do we know of the Holy Spirit?
    1. Jesus tells Nicodemus, that the Spirit comes and goes, no one predicts its movements
    2. But we see the effects of the Spirit, just as the wind moves the branches of the tree
    3. We cannot “see” the wind, but we see its effects.
    4. So we will be looking for the effects

 

  1. First letter of Saint John
    1. Summary of Christian Sprituality
    2. “God is Love”
    3. Until Jesus, God’s true nature not clear
    4. Some Law-Giving Creator who demanded strict adherence to codes and laws
    5. Withheld blessings and delivered punishment

 

  1. Not until Jesus, true God and true man, did the human family experience in our history the true nature of God
    1. Best expressed on the cross.
    2. For the meaning of the cross is not punishment
    3. The cross shows the unconditional depth of God’s Love for us, The total gift of self
    4. As we hear in the Gospel, “no one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life.
      1. There’s simply nothing more to give

 

  1. That God is Love is an upending revelation!
    1. Saint Bonaventure, 13th Doctor of the Church explores this mystery deeply for us.
    2. Contemplating what is revealed on the Cross, the total gift of self
    3. Then if God is perfect Love, then there must be one to whom He gives all He is, and that is the Son.
    4. The Son who is God gives all He receives back to the Father
    5. Okay, here’s the tricky part…..
    6. If both Father and Son empty themselves of everything, between them there must be a shared third that also has everything. (repeat)
    7. Bonaventure clears things up a bit….. For Love to be perfect, the two in Love must give themselves in Love to a third.
    8. To say that God is Love is to say God is a Trinity, and the third loved jointly by Father and Son is the Holy Spirit.

 

  • Okay, enough of the theology, what does this look like in the real world?

 

  • Sometimes we are blessed with friendships so genuine, so true, that they last a lifetime
    1. So much so that we can never imagine life without that close friend
    2. The friendship itself, the shared experiences, take on a life of their own
    3. And the two love a third together, their friendship, the loss of which is truly felt like the death of a loved one
    4. Saint Augustine explores this form of love in the Confessions, in his childhood friends and with his Mother Saint Monica.
    5. In these lifelong friendships and loves, Augustine sees the very imprint of the Trinity.
    6. “Wherever Love is found, there is God.”

 

  1. For those of us blessed with the Sacrament of Marriage
    1. A man and a woman come together as individuals, but soon their lives become so intwined one cannot imagine life without the other
    2. If they are blessed with children, their love of the two becomes love of a third.
    3. For those of us blessed with families, the life of the family becomes a life unto itself.
    4. I cannot imagine a me without Beth and our family.
    5. Family life is truly a third we love together that has a life of its own.
  2. Again, God has made understanding the Holy Spirit easy for us: the very imprint of the Trinity is on our our marriages and families.

 

  1. Recall, we are looking for the effects of the Holy Spirit. The first is Love.  Wherever we find the free gift of self for the betterment of the other, that gives rise to a love that becomes a life of its own, there we have the Holy Spirit.

 

  • Today’s Gospel also gives a second effect of the coming of the Holy Spirit: Joy!
    1. Jesus says, “I tell you this so that my joy may be in you, and your joy might be complete.”
    2. Think, pray over this week about the Jesus’ JOY!
    3. Completely loved by the father, conquered sin and death, united in love to the Father in the Holy Spirit, active in the beauty, truth, and goodness of all creation for all eternity, completely at peace!
    4. That is the Joy Jesus says He wants to place in us!
    5. Shalom! Shalom! Says the Risen Christ, “Peace be with you!”

 

  • So that’s two signs of the Holy Spirit: Abundant Love and abundant Joy!
    1. When you see someone with religion but no joy, run the other way.
    2. When you find great love AND great joy, run after it, for there you will find the Holy Spirit, and God.

 

  • So what impact does all this have on us today?
    1. Gathered in Christ’s name, from all backgrounds, offer each other “peace be with you.”
    2. We are Act III of a IV Act play.
    3. Act I: God so Loves us that He becomes one of us, Jesus, true God and true Man, and begins the Incarnation in Mary of Nazareth
    4. Act II: Jesus as true God and true man reveals the very nature of God, and His deep love for us, through everything he does, teaches, and especially in His death.
    5. He establishes the Church and its Sacraments so that through Baptism we become a new creation and member of His mystical body, and in the Eucharist we receive our Daily Bread, food for the journey as new creations in the risen Christ.
    6. Act III: Sanctified and emboldened by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we are sent on the same mission as Jesus, we are to build up the Church with our gifts, and proclaim the Good News to those who have yet to believe.
    7. And the Incarnation continues in each one of us.

 

  1. 4:00 this morning, responded to a Frederick Police Call for a Chaplain
    1. Despite her mourning, her personal suffering, challenges of health, experience with homelessness
    2. Still full of Joy, still sharing Love and Compassion with others
    3. I didn’t need the discerning powers of a saint to know I was in the presence of the Holy Spirit.

 

  • Now it is true that one does not need to be a Christian to love someone else, or to find joy in loving another.
    1. Christians did not invent love.

 

  • So we turn again to the Gospel
    1. Love one another AS I LOVE YOU.
    2. How does Jesus Love us?
    3. See’s the potential in us to receive the Holy Spirit
    4. So we are called to love others as we see the potential of that person to receive the Spirit, the joy of the life of the Trinity.
    5. To see one another as made for holiness, for divine life and love
    6. Or, as Mother Thereasa simply said, to see Christ in others.

 

  • Finally to Love as Jesus Loves, Saint Augustine tells us, is impossible alone
    1. We need Christ, we need the Holy Spirit
    2. So we now come to the Eucharist, to receive the very One who shows us how to Love.

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