Liturgy of the Sunday

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Sixth Sunday of Easter


First Reading

Acts 8,5-8.14-17

And Philip went to a Samaritan town and proclaimed the Christ to them. The people unanimously welcomed the message Philip preached, because they had heard of the miracles he worked and because they saw them for themselves. For unclean spirits came shrieking out of many who were possessed, and several paralytics and cripples were cured. As a result there was great rejoicing in that town. When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, and they went down there and prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit, for as yet he had not come down on any of them: they had only been baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

Psalmody

Psalm 65

Antiphon

It is you, Lord, who has restored our lives.

Cry out with joy to God all the earth,
O sing to the glory of his name.

O render him glorious praise.
Say to God : 'How tremendous your deeds!

Because of the greatness of your strength
your enemies cringe before you.

Before you all the earth shall bow;
shall sing to you, sing to your name!'

Come and see the works of God,
tremendous his deeds among men.

He turned the sea into dry land,
they passed through the river dry-shod.

Let our joy then be in him;
he rules for ever by his might.

His eyes keep watch over the nations:
let rebels not rise against him.

O peoples, bless our God,
let the voice of his praise resound,

of the God who give life to our souls
and kept our feet from stumbling.

For you, O God, have tested us,
you have tried us as silver is tried :

you led us, God, into the snare;
you laid a heavy burden on our backs.

You let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water
but then you brought us relief.

Burnt offering I bring to your house;
to you I will pay my vows,

the vows which my lips have uttered,
which my mouth spoke in my distress.

I will offer burnt offerings of fatlings
with the smoke of burning rams.
I will offer bullocks and goats.

Come and hear, all who fear God.
I will tell what he did for my soul :

to him I cried aloud,
with high praise ready on my tongue.

If there had been evil in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.

But truly God has listened;
he has heeded the voice of my prayer.

Blessed be God who did not reject my prayer
nor withhold his love from me.

Second Reading

1 Peter 3,15-18

Simply proclaim the Lord Christ holy in your hearts, and always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you have. But give it with courtesy and respect and with a clear conscience, so that those who slander your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their accusations. And if it is the will of God that you should suffer, it is better to suffer for doing right than for doing wrong. Christ himself died once and for all for sins, the upright for the sake of the guilty, to lead us to God. In the body he was put to death, in the spirit he was raised to life,

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 14,15-21

If you love me you will keep my commandments. I shall ask the Father, and he will give you another Paraclete to be with you for ever, the Spirit of truth whom the world can never accept since it neither sees nor knows him; but you know him, because he is with you, he is in you. I shall not leave you orphans; I shall come to you. In a short time the world will no longer see me; but you will see that I live and you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you. Whoever holds to my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me; and whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I shall love him and reveal myself to him.'

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Homily

"I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you," Jesus says to his disciples. Doubtlessly Jesus' concern for the future of that little group dominated his thoughts. There is a dimension of pastoral responsibility here that should be rediscovered: a concern for the future of our communities. To be disciples of the Lord, it is not enough to let ourselves be absorbed by the immediateness of our daily work. In the present, we already have to cultivate the future that we desire. This is what Jesus is teaching that evening. He sees before his eyes a small group of fragile people. He looks at them with affection and dreams of the whole of humanity gathered around that table. Certainly it was naïve to entrust his holy legacy to those disciples, as weak as they were. But it is the naiveté of God who trusts in and entrusts himself to the little ones and the weak. Jesus says that he will not leave them alone, abandoned as orphans. In the Bible the orphan is the prototype of the defenceless person who is at the mercy of the powerful. Jesus will not leave his friends defenceless. And he announces the coming of an "advocate" (or "helper"), who is the "Spirit of truth." The term "helper," applied to the Holy Spirit, means someone who helps in every circumstances, especially those that are most difficult. Jesus says the Spirit will "be with you for ever." We need the Spirit of Jesus, because the world cannot see him and does not know him. He is foreign to the world's way of thinking, to the ideologies of lies, to the perverse systems that oppress men and women and perpetuate violence. The Spirit of Jesus is foreign to the many spirits that possess our hearts and our thoughts, along with the heart and mind of this world. I am referring to the spirit of indifference, the spirit of selfishness, the spirit of pride, enmity, envy, lies, and arrogance.
The Spirit comes back again to transform the hearts of the disciples. Changing the world starts with changing the heart. The flame of the Gospel comes to rest on the heads of the disciples and warms their hearts. The love of Jesus is the beginning of every Christian religious experience. During the last supper, Jesus says to the disciples, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." It is the first time in the Gospel that Jesus asks the disciples to love him. Up until now he has asked them to love the Father, the poor, the little ones, and each other. Now, just before dying, he asks them to love him. It is certainly a request for affection, but love for Jesus does not end with him. It is poured out abundantly on us. Jesus says, "Those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them." This flame of love that the Spirit places the heart of each one of us is the interior strength that sustains us on the journey of life and helps us grow in the image of the Lord Jesus. And it is the energy that regenerates the world.