May 21, 2017: 6th Sunday Easter A
Click to hear Audio Homily
On one Sunday morning, Kirk, a 10-yr. old boy woke up with a bad attitude. His mother was urging him to wash up and dress for church, but Kirk was not being cooperative. He was disgruntled because he couldn’t stay home and watch TV with Dad. Hearing all the commotion, his dad got up from the couch and intervened. “Son, you need to go to mass. I went every Sunday when I was your age.” Little Kirk turned around with his shoulder slumped and headed to the car but not before his dad heard him grumble, “Yeah, and I’ll bet it won’t do me any good either.” When Kirk returned to his pew from receiving communion, he was surprised to see his dad in the communion line.
What prompted that dad to go to mass? Was it simply guilt? Was he feeling the emptiness of not having been nourished by Jesus in the Eucharist for a long while? Or was he prompted by the Holy Spirit? St. Paul reminds us in the Second Reading, “Beloved: Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.” As the spiritual leader of the house, that dad recalled his baptismal promise to witness his faith. He felt convicted in someway, like most of us at times, the lack of our fervor in our love for God.
Our Lord stated plainly to his disciples, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Jesus wasn’t trying to twist our arms to get us to comply to do certain things. Knowing our human weakness, Jesus asked his Father to send the Holy Spirit, our Divine Advocate, to dwell in us so that we are not left as orphans and left to our devices. This Spirit of truth is within each one of us, defending us from all that can separate us from Jesus.
This Spirit of truth invites us to live in the truth of Jesus in the midst of a culture where all too often selfish motives and double-speak masquerade as the truth. Have you noticed how these days a lie is justified as strategy, exploitation is called business, irresponsibility is called tolerance, injustice is called status quo, arbitrariness is called freedom, lack of respect is called sincerity?
Holy Spirit led Our Lord to unveil the hypocrisy in the lives of the people and call them to conversion while seeking the loveless, the unloving, and the unloveable. Are we going to allow this Spirit of truth to be diminished by our inaction? Or are we going to announce the Good New of Jesus through our daily reliance on the power of the Holy Spirit in a culture that is so in need of encouragement and hope? The Holy Spirit gathers our scattered desires and re-focus them on God. Desire for God integrates us, as our life becomes focused on the only One who can fill us. This Spirit is encouragement, power, light, love… that reaches us from God’s ultimate mystery. As the father of the little boy responded to the prompting of the Holy Spirit with humility, we must welcome this Spirit with a trusting heart and humbly respond with generosity.