6th Sunday of Easter C
The first part of this Gospel passage we heard last Monday, and Mother Church repeats it in our hearing today to emphasize to us that loving God means obeying his word, and not obeying his word in our lives simply manifests that we do not love him. Jesus and the Father are one, and, therefore, the words of Jesus are also the words of the Father. Putting into practice the words of Jesus is putting into practice the words of the Father. But surely we cannot do this by our own efforts. To walk daily in the path of the Lord is beyond our human capacity. We need God’s light and strength. That is why Jesus immediately promises that he will send us the Holy Spirit from the Father. The Holy Spirit will teach us and remind us of everything he has taught us. We also know that the Holy Spirit will be our strength to put into practice what Jesus taught us, as we saw the apostles and the first Christians proclaim bravely the Good News after the Pentecost. They lived a life different from that of those around them and proclaimed their faith in Jesus without fear of martyrdom. Notice how the Three Divine Persons are involved in all this, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Let us be more conscious that living out our faith puts us in constant contact with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The sign of the Cross and the Glory be should be frequently on our lips.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you.” The peace of the world is simply the external absence of conflict and war. It does not guarantee the peace in the heart. Observing external absence of conflict does not guarantee that it will not explode any moment as we have seen in terrorist attacks and suicide bombings. When there is peace in the heart, love is easily fostered, and the search for the good of others is in the forefront. Even psychology has confirmed that external quarrels, conflicts, school killings, crimes are committed because the persons concerned have conflicts in their hearts; they are not at peace with others nor within themselves. Even when Jesus has already returned to the Father, we are able to maintain that peace in our hearts and love one another as Jesus did because his Holy Spirit is in our hearts, teaching, reminding, strengthening, encouraging, consoling. We must never forget that Jesus is at the right hand of the Father interceding for us always.
Then our earthly city becomes the new Jerusalem even here on earth because the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are in our midst. Note that the gates of this city have the names of the twelve tribes and the foundation stones have the names of the twelve apostles meaning that Jews and we, gentile Christians, may enter and find a home. The light is not a physical sun but the splendor and glory of God and the Lamb. Then God will be all in all. We will find joy in each other because our love is founded in God.
Fr. Bert Decena, OAR