6th Sunday of Easter

Acts 8:5-8,14-17   1Peter 3:15-18   John 14:15-21

Ten CommandmentsThe disciples of Jesus must have been a state of constant confusion!  Many of these disciples ‘had left everything to follow’ the preacher, miracle-worker and had been beginning to feel secure in their trust in Him.  As Jesus tried to identify Himself to them they had to adjust the way they perceived him.  When He called himself a shepherd they followed him, when He described himself as the Vine they felt his life-blood in themselves, when he described himself as the Way, the Truth and the Life their security was assured.  

And then, He told them that he would leave them and send them a new ‘presence’.  These apostles had to change from the way they had seen Jesus, that is the way the world sees Jesus, (outward seeing of the physical reality) to a new way of seeing him (inner seeing – believing, Faith).  Now they would look on him, not with the eyes of the body but with the eyes of the heart.

Yuri Gagarin, the first Russian space traveller, reported that in the great up-there he had seen no evidence of heaven or of God.  A priest of the Russian Orthodox Church replied to him: ‘How could anybody see God up there if he had not first met God in here?’ - pointing to his heart.

Our Gospel today shows us that the secret of this way of looking at God is the Holy Spirit.  Jesus promises the Holy Spirit – ‘You can live that life, my life, if you keep my commandments!’

That is the challenge!  We have been given the commandments through Moses and our ancestors in Faith.  Jesus has opened up a new meaning of the commandments through his teaching of the Beatitudes – a sort of charter for Christian living, the style of the lives of true disciples.  The grace or help that is given to us is the Holy Spirit.  This Spirit will be an Advocate or Paraclete, which means one to be by our side to help and defend us.

The Holy Spirit comes to us with gifts to support and enable us.  Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge and Piety will strengthen us in our endeavours to keep the commandments and show how we do indeed love the Lord.The 7th gift, Fear of the Lord means humility of mind in the context of God’s plan for us, for me. That plan of God for me means that my soul is at home in God and that God is at home in my soul. ‘On that day you will understand that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.’