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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Monday of the Sixth Week 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, “When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning. “I have told you this so that you may not fall away. They will expel you from the synagogues; in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God. They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me. I have told you this so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you."

«And you also 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…that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me" (Jn 15:26). "Paraclete" literally means "the one who is called near to one", and is usually translated as "Comforter". In this way, Jesus reminds us of the goodness of God, for the Holy Spirit being the love of God, He instills peace in our hearts, serenity in adversity and joy for the things of God. He makes us look to the things above and unite with God.

Furthermore, Jesus says to the Apostles: "And you also testify" (Jn 15:27). To testify it is necessary to:

1st Have communion and intimacy with Jesus. This is born of the daily relationship with Him: reading the Gospel, listening to His words, knowing His teachings, frequenting His sacraments, being in communion with His Church, imitating His example, keeping the commandments, seeing Him in the saints, recognizing Him in our brothers, having His spirit and loving Him. It is about having a personal and living experience of Jesus.

2nd Our testimony is credible if it appears in our works. A witness is not only a person who knows that something is true, but who is also willing to say it and live it. What we experience and live in our soul we must transmit to the outside world. We are witnesses of Jesus not only if we know His teachings, but — and mainly — when we want and make others to know and love Him. As the saying goes, "Actions speak louder than words."

Pope Francis told us: “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 ask Christians in communities throughout the world to offer a radiant and attractive witness of fraternal communion." That is always a light that attracts.

«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”.