Acts 8: 5 - 8, 14 - 17
1 Peter 3: 15 - 18
John 14: 15 - 21
Word of Explanation:
The Gospel of John answers the question of knowing how to listen to Jesus after he has returned to the Father. John gives us two terms: parakltos, or Paraclete, and pneuma, spirit.
Parakltos, in Greek, designates someone who comes to support another in a court case and plays the role of an intercessor or defender. Thus the Holy Spirit is our defender. At the prayer of Jesus, the Spirit is sent to us by the Father. He continues to guide Jesus disciples, to recall his words, to make them his witnesses. The Spirit will be their defender in a world that does not welcome them, as it had not welcomed Jesus
In last Sundays Gospel, (the verses that precede those of today), Jesus invites his disciples to have faith. Today, the accent is placed on love. Faith and love in fidelity to Christ is what is required of the disciples.
We must believe and not let ourselves be troubled by events; we have to love and not let ourselves be carried along by our feelings. In the comportment of the disciples, loving and staying faithful to the commandments corresponds to Jesus' way: prayer to the Father who gives the Spirit. The Spirit is the gift of the Father to the disciples in response to Jesus prayer.
The Spirit will be with them definitively, forever.. Jesus calls him another defender and the Spirit of Truth, thus continuing the work of Jesus and not leaving the disciples orphans.
Philips action in the text of the Acts, follows that of Jesus: Philip proclaims the Good News and works signs, especially by healing. Words and actions go together and confirm the faith of believers. The crowds receive the saving word about Jesus -- dead, risen and seated at the right hand of God. The miracles do not redound to the glory of the one who performs them but to Christ and his saving power. The believers are not alone; Christ is present in their midst through the mediation of Philip.
The Samaritans who welcomed the word of God but were only baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, receive the Holy Spirit through the mediation of Peter and John. There again, the Apostles play the role of mediator so that men and women may receive the gift of God.
Let us place ourselves among those who know how to dwell in the love of God, of those who seek to find the way back to the heart, the interior. In their most intimate depths, the Holy Spirit helps us in the combat to love, continues to reveal the intimacy with the Father to which we are called.
The Letter of St. Peter extends the invitation that we may be able to give account of our hope by our words and our actions, by our way of being and doing by which we are like Christ under the guidance of the Spirit.
Lord, help us to pass from the exterior to the interior, to return to the center of our heart, the center of our being, where our intelligence and will meet. By the gift of your Spirit, may our intelligence be enlightened by faith and our will inspired by love.
-- Sr. Sophie Ramond, R.A.