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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Monday 6th of Easter

1st Reading (Acts 16:11-15): We set sail from Troas, making a straight run for Samothrace, and on the next day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, a leading city in that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We spent some time in that city. On the sabbath we went outside the city gate along the river where we thought there would be a place of prayer. We sat and spoke with the women who had gathered there. One of them, a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth, from the city of Thyatira, a worshiper of God, listened, and the Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what Paul was saying. After she and her household had been baptized, she offered us an invitation, «If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my home», and she prevailed on us.
Responsorial Psalm: 149
R/. The Lord takes delight in his people.
Sing to the Lord a new song of praise in the assembly of the faithful. Let Israel be glad in their maker, let the children of Zion rejoice in their king.

Let them praise his name in the festive dance, let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp. For the Lord loves his people, and he adorns the lowly with victory.

Let the faithful exult in glory; let them sing for joy upon their couches. Let the high praises of God be in their throats. This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 15:26.27): Alleluia. The Spirit of truth will testify to me, says the Lord, and you also will testify. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Jn 15,26—16,4): Jesus said to his disciples, «From the Father, I will send you the Spirit of truth. When this Helper has come from the Father, He will be my witness, and you, too, will be my witnesses for you have been with me from the beginning. I tell you all this to keep you from stumbling and falling away. They will put you out of the Jewish communities. Still more, the hour is coming when anyone who kills you will claim to be serving God; they will do this because they have not known the Father or me. I tell you all these things now so that when the time comes you may remember that I told you. I did not tell you about this in the beginning because I was with you».

«And you also must testify»

Fr. Higinio Rafael ROSOLEN IVE (Cobourg, Ontario, Canada)

Today, in the Gospel, Jesus announces and promises the coming of the Holy Spirit: "When the Paraclete comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, he will testify about me" (John 15:26). "Paraclete" literally means "one called to the side of another", and is usually translated as "Comforter". In this way, Jesus reminds us of the goodness of God, for the Holy Spirit being God's love, He infuses into our hearts peace, equanimity in adversity and joy for the things of God. He makes us look at things above and join God.

Besides, Jesus also said to the Apostles: «And you must also testify» (Jn 15:27). To bear witness to it is necessary:

1º To have communion and intimacy with Jesus. This originates from our day-to-day behavior with Him: to read the Gospel, to hear His words, to know His teachings, to frequent His sacraments, to be in communion with His Church, to imitate His example, to fulfil His commandments, to identify Him in the Saints, to recognize Him in our brothers, to have His spirit and to love Him. It is a matter of having a personal and living experience of Jesus.

2º If it appears in our works our testimony is trustworthy. A witness is not only a person who knows something to be true but who is also willing to say it and live by it. What we experience and live by in our soul must be also transmitted beyond. We are witnesses of Jesus not only when we know His teachings, but - and mainly - when we want and make others to know Him and love Him. As the saying goes: «Words move people, examples compel them».

Pope Francis said: “I am grateful for the beautiful example given to me by so many Christians who joyfully sacrifice their lives and their time. This witness comforts and sustains me in my own effort to overcome selfishness and to give more fully of myself." And he added: «I especially want to ask you a testimony of fraternal communion that becomes attractive and radiant». This is always an enticing light.

«I will send you the Spirit of truth. When this Helper has come from the Father, He will be my witness»

Fr. Jordi POU i Sabater (Sant Jordi Desvalls, Girona, Spain)

Today, the Gospel is almost as applicable as it was in the last years of St. John the Evangelist. In those days, to be a Christian was not in fashion (in fact, it was rather dangerous) as, now a days, it is not either. Should we want to be well regarded by our society, we better not be Christians, because, in many ways —as it happened to the first Christian Jews— «they will put us out of the Jewish communities» (Jn 16:2).

We are well aware that to be a Christian today is to go upstream. It has always been. Even when “everybody” was a Christian: those who really wanted to be Christians were not too well considered by some. If abiding by Jesus Christ's law, a Christian is a living witness of what God had planned for all men; it is the clear evidence that it is both possible to imitate Jesus Christ and to live with a man's dignity. Many, though, will not be pleased with this example, very much in the same way as Jesus displeased those who killed him. The reasons for this refusal may be several, and we have to bear in mind that, at times, our testimony will be taken as an accusation.

It would not be fair to say that, because of his writings, St. John was a pessimist: he gives us a vivid description of a victorious Church and of Christ's final triumph. It cannot be said either he did not have to go through the same suffering he describes. He does not hide the reality of life or the substance of Christian life: to fight.

A fight for all concerned, for we can never win by ourselves. The Holy Spirit is our battle partner who fights by our side. The Holy Spirit gives us the necessary strength. The Holy Spirit is the Protector, who delivers us from all danger. With The Holy Spirit by our side we should not be afraid of anything.

John fully trusted Jesus; He offered him his life. Thus, it was not difficult for him to trust He Who was sent by Him: the Holy Spirit.

«I will send you (…) the Spirit of truth»

Pbro. D. Luis A. GALA Rodríguez (Campeche, Mexico)

Today, the Gospel’s text contains Jesus’ advice on the hardship that is bound to face every one of his disciples «Still more, the hour is coming when anyone who kills you will claim to be serving God» (Jn 16:2). In plain human terms it is normal that fear may overtake us - however, just as it is certain that great comfort comes from knowing we are not alone, as we rely on the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of truth, to always pay testimonial (Jn 15:26).

It is of vital importance to be aware that the Holy Spirit lives within every one of us who is baptized: after all we are, by adoption, "children of God", and "living temple of the Spirit" — how true! And how often we forget or disbelieve such truth, because we haven’t known either the Father or the Son (Jn 16:3). We live in a crisis of values and faith, thinking that change will come from the outside and from the sole work of God, something magical. But the Gospel reminds us that change operates within and upon ourselves through the labor of the Holy Spirit. The "Spirit" will not come to solve our problems; rather it will teach us to comprehend them, thus leading us to understanding what it is that we really have to change within ourselves, so as to sustain and enliven the testimony of our lives in Christ.

Benedict XVI reminds us, on the opening Mass for the Year of Faith, that "today, more than ever, to evangelize implies to pay testimony of a new life, transformed by God", for which the essential lies in the Gospel and a steady faith in the Church.

One needs to be open to the touch of the Spirit of God, in order not to fear in face of so much pain, suffering, and helplessness in a world so materialistic — even though it might seem like God is absent or out of reach — but rather learning to ask for the help of the Spirit: "Come Holy Spirit and renew your Church according to your will”.

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