6TH SUNDAY OF EASTER (C).
THE INSEPARABLE LINK BETWEEN FULFILLING GOD’S COMMANDMENTS AND HIS PRESENCE IN OUR SOUL.
Dear brethren in Christ, today’s Gospel reading (Jn 14:23–29) is a beautiful revelation of the Mystery of the Holy Trinity when Jesus openly talks about God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. It also reminds us of the following ideas:
- IN ORDER FOR GOD TO INHABIT IN OUR SOUL, IT IS NECESSARY THAT, OUT OF LOVE, WE FULFILL HIS COMMANDMENTS FOR THEY ARE CONCRETE AND EXPLICIT MANIFESTATIONS OF THE TWOFOLD COMMANDMENT OF LOVING GOD AND LOVING OUR NEIGHBOUR.
Jesus said to his disciples: “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.
- The 10 Commandments should not be perceived negatively: on the contrary, let us not forget that the negative formulations are a clear pedagogical way of teaching God’s people.
- Furthermore, each commandment englobes within itself a good, a virtue to protect and foster so that a Christian’s way of living is compatible with the life of Christ in him and assure God’s presence in his soul.
- Hence, out of love for God and our neighbour as the only motive, we must strive daily to live the 10 commandments and the virtue they protect for they are indispensable if we are to live in the state of grace and have God present in our soul.
- GOD IS REALLY PRESENT IN THE SOUL OF A CHRISTIAN IN THE STATE OF GRACE (THAT IS, WITHOUT MORTAL SINS) AND RENEWED BY GRACE.
- It is one of the principal effects of the Sacrament of Baptism: GOD INHABITS IN OUR SOUL IN GRACE. It is also the reason why we should frequent the SACRAMENT OF CONFESSION (RECONCILIATION, PENANCE OR GOD’S MERCY) in order the recover God’s presence, grace and friendship if, unfortunately, we have committed mortal sins by knowingly and willingly transgressing God’s commandments.
- Paul speaks of this real presence when he asserts that we are temples of the Holy Spirit (cf. 2 Cor 6:16-17). On his part, St. Augustine beautifully reflected on God’s ineffable presence in one’s soul when he wrote:
“Late have I loved you, 0beauty so ancient and so new, late have I loved you! You were within me, and I was in the world outside myself. I searched for you in the world outside myself. . . . You were with me, but I was not with you. The beautiful things of this world kept me far from you and yet, if they had not been in you, they would have had no being at all. You called me; you cried aloud to me; you broke my barrier of deafness; you shone upon me; your radiance enveloped me; you cured my blindness” (Confessions, X, 27, 38).
- At the same time, Our Lord promised THAT GOD THE FATHER WILL SEND THE HOLY SPIRIT, THE ADVOCATE WHO WILL TEACH US EVERYTHING AND REMIND US ALL THAT OUR LORD HAS TAUGHT THEM: a palpable reality which can be confirmed beyond doubt with the presence of the Catholic Church, the prolongation of the salvific mystery of Our Lord Jesus Christ in today’s world, thanks to the apostolic zeal of the Apostles and all their successors.
“I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.
- God the Holy Spirit, the Love between the Father and the Son, is always present and acts in the Church founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church. That is why, we should always be confident knowing that, in spite of the weakness of the clergy and lay members, the Holy Spirit will always prevail in Jesus’ Mystical Body as we have seen in the past (see 1st reading from Acts 15:1–2, 22–29 which describes the Council of Jerusalem, the 1st ever in the history of the Catholic Church) centuries till the present, sanctifying the entire Church and her ministers, guiding them to proclaim the Good News to all nations and to discern and teach the Truth.
- Lastly, Our Lord assures the Apostles that they have nothing to be afraid of when He goes to the Father: HE GIVES THEM HIS OWN PEACE.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe.”
- Note that it is Christ’s peace and not the world’s peace. As the commentary of the Navarre Gospels state: “peace is one of the great messianic gifts (cf. Is 9:7; 48:18; Mic 5:5; Mt 10:22; Lk 2:14; 19:38). The peace which Jesus gives us completely transcends the peace of the world (cf. note on Mt 10:34-37), which can be superficial and misleading and compatible with injustice. The peace of Christ is, above all, reconciliation with God and reconciliation of men with one another; it is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit (cf. Gal 5:22-23); it is ‘SERENITY OF MIND, TRANQUILLITY OF SOUL, SIMPLICITY OF HEART, A BOND OF LOVE, A UNION OF CHARITY: NO ONE CAN INHERIT GOD IF HE DOES NOT KEEP HIS TESTAMENT OF PEACE, OR LIVE IN UNITY WITH CHRIST IF HE IS SEPARATED FROM CHRISTIANITY (St Augustine, De verbis Domini serm., 58).’”
- Christ’s peace will have its fulfillment at the end of time when God will establish His Kingdom here on earth (see 2nd reading, Rev 21:10–14, 22–23, which speaks about John’s vision of the holy city of Jerusalem descending from heaven)
Dear friends, out of love for God and our neighbour as the only motive, let us strive daily to live the God’s commandments if we want Him to be always present in our soul and possess his grace and peace. For this, we should always be docile to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier, who will work in our soul and with our faithful correspondence and never-ending beginning again, will transform us into other Christs.
Mother Mary, Daughter of God the Father, Mother of God the Son, Spouse of God the Holy Spirit, pray for us so that we will never tire out in our struggle to love and serve God in this world!
A Blessed week ahead to you and your family!
Fr. Rolly A., priest of Opus Dei.
ORIGINAL PHOTO SOURCE: St. Joseph and the Most Holy Trinity by Guerra (1699) in https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/7c/a8/d4/7ca8d42238048b2c7be409d0d11edb6d.jpg