When Jimmy Carter was running for President of the United States, one Sunday morning, as a candidate he had gone to worship at the Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia. When the service was over, suddenly, a reporter, shouted out a question that genuinely mattered: “Mr. Carter, suppose when you are President, you get into a situation where the laws of the United States are in conflict with what you understand to be the will of God; which will you follow, the laws of the state or the commandments of God?” Carter stopped, looked up, perhaps with the Spirit gently whispering the lyrics of the Gospel into his ears, turned toward the reporter and replied, “I would obey the commandments of God.” Carter the politician could have avoided the question, or hewed closely to the law of the land, but Carter the Christian was open to the Holy Spirit Who encouraged him to give an honest answer.
Like a Good Counselor, the Spirit enables us to become stronger and better every day.
Scripture readings from Easter to Pentecost focus on the early apostolic preaching and the promise of the Holy Spirit to prepare us for the great feasts of the Ascension and Pentecost. Today’s readings explain who the Holy Spirit is, what His roles are and how we can experience Him in our daily life. The first reading describes how the Holy Spirit helped Philip to preach powerfully and convert the Samaritans in large numbers. It also explains how the baptized Samaritans received a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit through the imposition of hands by the apostles Peter and John. In the second reading, Peter shows us the God-fearing life in the Holy Spirit who makes it possible for us believers to live in the midst of opposition and persecution. The Gospel, taken from the “Last Supper Discourse,” describes about the gift that Jesus asks the Father to send the gift of the Holy Spirit who will live as the Paraclete, the Divine Advocate, in those who obey Jesus’ commandments, especially the commandment of love. Thus, Jesus will continue to live in His believers with the indwelling of the Father and Holy Spirit so that we will not be left as orphans.
This weekend’s readings (6th Sunday of Easter, 2020) are an invitation for us to stay open to the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete. The purpose of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is to help us to grow towards maturity and wholeness. We all have faults that prevent our growth: blocks of sin and imperfection; blocks due to childhood conflicts; blocks due to deeply ingrained personality traits and habits; blocks caused by addictions; and blocks resulting from bad choices we have made. We all have these blocks within us and they keep us from becoming what God wants us to be. They prevent us from growing into maturity and wholeness. God, the Holy Spirit, helps us to see the truth about ourselves, to discern the blocks that inhibit our growth, and to allow Him to transform us. Like a Good Counselor, the Spirit enables us to become stronger and better every day. The Holy Spirit also comes to our aid and gives us the strength to make difficult and painful decisions. The Holy Spirit actually lives in us, and we hear His voice counseling and guiding us in the way of truth. Let us open the ears of our minds to hear Him and to obey His promptings who lives within us.
Fr Tomy Puliyan, MSFS
“Holiness and Happiness through Wellness and Wholeness”