Pastoral Sharings: "Sixth Sunday of Easter"

WeeklyMessage  Homily from Father James Gilhooley
  Sixth Sunday of Easter
  May 25, 2014 

  Sixth Sunday of Easter – A Cycle – John 14:15-21
   A sailboat got caught in heavy seas. A rogue wave
  flipped the boat over. The heavy keel righted the boat, 
  but there was heavy damage. A SOS brought the Coast 
  Guard (CG). The seas were so rough the CG ship could not rescue the crew. So, it placed itself as close as it could to the sailboat. The CG protected the sailboat from the brunt of the 10 foot waves. Finally they made port.

The Holy Spirit plays the same relation to us. He takes the brunt of our troubles. He not only lives inside us but also He walks beside us. He brings us into port. (Unknown)

Jesus in this Gospel told the apostles the extraordinary statement He would not leave them orphans.

The setting was the Last Supper. He had announced His impending departure. The twelve were wiped out. The Christ had to lift His people off the floor and put them back on their soft cushions. He promised to continue His presence with them through a Helper. He would serve as their eternal Deus ex machina. The Helper would be the Holy Spirit.

Jesus in John’s Gospel uses the Greek word menein forty times. It translates as abide or remain or stay. He remains with us through the Holy Spirit or Parakletos.

Parakletos is a tough word to translate into English. A popular translation is Comforter. That term is traced to the fourteenth century English reformer, John Wycliff. (William Barclay)

The word does a disservice to the Third Person of the Trinity. A comforter is understood as one who stands about waiting till we fall on our faces. Then he slips us chocolate with a sympathy card and tells us, “No problem.” The Spirit will do that. But His role as Dutch uncle is but a small part of His assignment.

The Parakletos is one who will be right next to us on our journey as a companion, even a buddy. He will support us so that we seldom fall on our faces. He will be our Knight Protector. It is the Spirit who will lead the rescuing cavalry when we find ourselves surrounded by the bad guys. Much of our lives we looked for God in the momentous while He’s been waiting in the moment. (Michael Yaconelli) Waiting patiently for us in the moment is the Holy Spirit.

Many college students I worked with said, “I just can’t cope any longer.” I told them that I found myself in similar situations often. But then I took ten, sipped a cup of hazelnut coffee, and prayed to the Parakletos.

And, more often than not, what had been a stressful situation eased off and sometimes disappeared entirely. I told them I was falling back on that wonderful promise of Jesus, “I will not leave you orphans.” In many areas, I am a Bible-belt fundamentalist. I hold Jesus to all His promises. I expect the Holy Spirit to deliver. He is a legal and healthy steroid. I am seldom disappointed.

But I did emphasize for the students that the Helper is not a party crasher. He waits for an invitation. Then He will come and ring our bell loudly with His elbow. His hands will be filled with gifts. They are outlined in the Scriptures. He leads us into truth (Jn 16:13.) He guarantees we are God’s children (Rom 8:16). He helps us pray (Rom 8:26). He offers us hope (Rom 15:13). He empowers us to help other believers (1 Cor 12:4). He aids us to be another Christ (2 Cor 3:18). He gives us spiritual muscle (2 Cor 3:18). (Barclay)

However, He expects that we will join our physical bulk, intellectual energy, and the gifts He has already given to us at Baptism and Confirmation to His new gifts.

The Parakletos is summed up well in these lyrical words. Eternally the Holy Spirit is love between the Father and the Son but historically the Holy Spirit is love between God and the world. (Daniel Durkin)

The Church’s historical record over two millennia shows that Jesus did not pull the legs of the apostles. He did not leave them orphans. Nor do people of faith accept that the promise has gone somewhere into limbo in the contemporary Church.

Moving about post-Christian Europe, I met many young Christians. They were working for the Gospel in almost hopeless situations. Yet, each of them assured me, “The Holy Spirit will think of something.” None of them showed fear. They were serene. The Spirit had much to do with that serenity. They had not forgotten the promise of Jesus. They did not feel orphans. They are a “creative minority.” (Benedict XVI) Their main advocate, the Holy Spirit, stands before them like an unconquerable mountain.

Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
May 25, 2014

Sixth Sunday of Easter
Gospel John 14: 15 – 21

This Gospel is part of what is known as the Last Supper Discourse. They had a difficulty understanding this when they heard it before the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. We hear it, not only after these events, but also after both the Ascension and Pentecost. We also have two thousand years of Christianity behind us that provides us with the reflections, teachings and experiences of the presence of the Triune God in our lives and the life of the Church.

Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year A—May 18, 2014
Gospel (Read Jn 14:15-21)

Today we continue in Jesus’ Last Supper Discourse with the Twelve. He is speaking forthrightly to His friends about an imminent change in their three-year jaunt with the itinerant Teacher. Here we discover the dramatic difference between Jesus and all other teachers who came before or after Him. It is the singular distinction of Christianity, separating it from all the religions or philosophies the world has ever known. Jesus simply tells His apostles that Someone Else is coming.

Holy Spirit – The Paraclete
He wore steel rimmed glasses and had hair to the middle of his back.  The fringe on his buck-skinned jacket bounced as he walked.

At least that was the way I was accustomed to seeing Mike as he bopped around town.  It was just a few years after Woodstock, and we were all taken with hippie culture.  It seemed so free, so new, so exciting.

But that day at the entrance of the mall, I scarcely recognized him.  His hair was cut and his clothing conventional.  He was passing out tracts and spoke to me of the Holy Spirit.  I scratched my head and vaguely remembered some talk about the Holy Spirit in confirmation class.   But I had to admit that I really did not know much about this third person of the Blessed Trinity.

Sixth Sunday of Easter: As Good as the Christian Samaritans
They were the people that everyone hated.  They were the Samaritans.  The Romans and Greeks and other gentiles hated them because they saw them as just another group of Jews, only ones who could not benefit the empire much.  The Jews hated them because they saw the Samaritans as half-breeds.  The Jews believed that the Samaritans had polluted blood, part gentile and part Jew.

Obedience and the Christian Life
There is no way around it: the Christian’s life is to be one of obedience. “Let him who has ears to hear, hear,” says Jesus. That does not mean that we are beholden only to God, under our own understanding of who God is and what He wants from us. God in His mercy does not abandon us to our vagaries. He chooses to save persons through persons, says Saint Edith Stein, recommending, for progress in the spiritual life, that we seek a director, and heed the person’s advice; and this wisdom holds even for people who by the grace of God have advanced beyond where their directors are. Jesus did not found a club of like-minded individuals. He founded a Church, and said to Peter and the apostles, “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” If men reject you, said Jesus, they reject Him.

Christ In Us Through the Rosary
To linger in the domain of Mary is a divinely great thing. One does not ask about the utility of truly noble things, because they have their meaning within themselves. So it is of infinite meaning to draw a deep breath of this purity, to be secure in the peace of this union with God.

With this we come back to what we said in the beginning. Man needs a place of holy tranquility that the breath of God pervades and where he meets the great figures of the Faith. This place is the inaccessibility of God Himself, which only Christ opens to man.

Spiritual Powerhouse: Mary’s Rosary
The Rosary is principally composed of the Prayer of Christ, the Our Father, and the Angelic Salutation, the Hail Mary. In his 2002 apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae (On the Most Holy Rosary), Pope John Paul II develops this dynamic further:

What does Jesus Mean by the Fire of Hell?
In the Church’s Liturgy of the Hours (in the Office of Readings) we are getting close to the great culmination of the Book of Revelation, when the victorious Christ is united with his bride forevermore. Just prior to this great victory is the casting down of Satan into fiery hell and the sealing over of the great abyss.

Even Jesus Sometimes said “No.”
One of the struggles that many Christians experience is that the needs around us are so great, yet we are limited, both in personal strength and resources. Lurking in the back of our minds is the notion that whatever the problem, Jesus would always help and therefore we should too. But is it always wrong to say “No” when there is need?

‘He Will Bring Hope’
JERUSALEM — In a whirlwind three-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Pope Francis will visit Jordan, Palestine and Israel, bringing a message of hope, peace and reconciliation to a region troubled by conflict.

The impending visit has encouraged Christians in the Holy Land, who are looking forward to the Holy Father’s journey.

5 Old Testament Models for How to Live
How can one be a faithful Christian amidst a godless culture?

It’s a question that presses upon us today with renewed urgency. But it is not a new question. It is one that confronted the earliest Christians in the waning years of the Roman Empire. St. Augustine tackled the issue in his magnum opus, The City of God. Centuries later, great saints like St. Francis of Assisi and St. Thomas Aquinas were still grappling with it.

How Contemporary Physics Points to God
Does modern physics provide evidence for the existence of God? This article presents a general overview of the answer to that question (a more thorough treatment may be found in my recent book, New Proofs for the Existence of God). I will divide the topic into three parts:

1. Can Science Give Evidence of Creation and Supernatural Design?
2. What is the Evidence for a Beginning and What are the
    Implications for Creation?
3. What is the Evidence of Supernatural Intelligence from Anthropic

The Search for Unity: A look at the 1,000-year-old divide between the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic churches — and what’s being done to bring them back together
“Hail East and West, for whom both we fight and from both we are fought!”                              — St. Gregory the Theologian

In 2011, I published “Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy: Ut Unum Sint and the Prospects of East-West Unity” (University of Notre Dame Press, $38). There I tackled what serious observers describe as the one final substantial hurdle to unity between the Orthodox and Catholic Church: the role of the pope. The picture on the front cover features a beaming Pope Benedict XVI and beaming Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, arms united upward as though in victory salute at the latter’s church in Constantinople during a visit in 2006.

Holy Interfaith, Pope Francis!
Why is Pope Francis going to the Holy Land accompanied by a Jew and a Muslim?

Is he saying all religions are equal? Is he proposing that all religions are simply different paths up the same mountain? Is he watering down the Catholic faith, compromising to appease Jews and Muslims and present a peaceful face where there is no peace?


To Say You Love Jesus but Do Not Love His Body the Church is Rude And Destroys Your Claim to Really Love Him
Q: My daughter says she loves Jesus but just doesn’t like the Church (for lots of reasons). She doesn’t see any problem with this and doesn’t think going to Church is necessary. Is there anything I can say to her? – Name withheld, via email.

A: The Church is the Body of Christ (cf Col 1:8; 1 Cor 12:27; Rom 12:4-6). Hence to declare love for Jesus but disdain for His body is inauthentic. We cannot have Jesus without His Body.

What is the Goal of the Catholic Church?
Why did Christ establish one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church?

Why did the eternal Son of God become incarnate of the Virgin Mary, call the Twelve, establish them on the rock that is Peter, give them the power to proclaim his Kingdom and even to absolve sins, and empower them with the Holy Spirit to lead them into all truth? In other words, why did Jesus ascend into the heavens and leave his Church to finish the mission?

“How is Your Soul?” — A Reflection on Spiritual Motherhood
Spiritual motherhood is a topic that more people are becoming aware of within the Catholic Church. Around the United States, retreats and conferences include this subject and new groups are forming to implement its practices.  Spiritual motherhood is about caring and self-giving. It is other-focused. Recessed in the nooks and crannies of our daily lives, if we open our eyes, we discover people who need spiritual nurturing, affirmation, and guidance, and don’t receive it.  This is spiritual motherhood, and it isn’t only for a biological mothers.

Doing What Christ Has Done
                     “Whoever believes in me will do the works that I do.”

Does Jesus really mean these words? How can we, weak and sinful as we are, ever dare to do what Christ has done and even imagine that we can do greater works than He has done? Can we hope to transform the lives of others, give hope to many, be obedient to the Father’s will even to the point of death on the Cross, forgive those who hurt us, serve all people selflessly, love God and others without counting the cost, and speak the truth with courage no matter the consequences?

Prophecy, Prophets and Priests
Prophecy, for the most part, has a paranormal connotation.  It implies the reception of knowledge by an individual that has predictive qualities infused by an unnatural source. Because of this understanding it is often ignored by the mainstream. It is deemed to be esoteric and often relegated to fringes of society. This is unfortunate, because legitimate prophecy builds on charismatic leadership and natural philosophy, and lastly depends on supernatural inspiration.

Evangelization in the Work Place
The very title of this column may scare you off, but bear with me and you may find the topic less daunting than you fear.

God has brought us into this world to prepare us all for everlasting joy with him in Heaven. This eternity of bliss, however, is intended not just for you or me, but for as many as possible. So a large part of our mission here on earth is to share our faith with family, friends, and all those put in our path on the road to everlasting glory. And that includes those outside the home that we may spend much of our waking hours with, those in the workplace.

.Soldiers lay down weapons for rosaries as they pray, pay homage to Mary
LOURDES, France (CNS) — It looked like any other military parade with bands playing, flags waving and thousands of men and women marching in colorful uniforms decorated with medals and ribbons.

But instead of impressive displays of tanks and trucks, troops from dozens of nations fell in line behind religious banners, a large wooden cross and a rose-strewn statue of Mary. Candles and rosaries — not weapons or rifles — were held aloft in soldiers’ hands.

When Satan Pulls Wool Over Our Eyes
Distilling some of the ideas in my book on Thomistic angelology, I published a previous column in Crisis on the massive intelligence and powers of angels. The flip-side of these spiritual faculties, as Aquinas points out, is the existence of a dark kingdom, using the same intelligence and power to prevent the spread of God’s kingdom, get more recruits, and consolidate the powers of evil in the world. In Luke 4:7, Satan declares that power over the kingdoms of the world have been delivered to him, and he offers Jesus a share in this power, if only Jesus would worship him; Jesus avoids the temptation, but does not contradict Satan’s claim of power.

The Right to Do Wrong
Robert R. Reilly’s new book, Making Gay Okay: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior is Changing Everything, is about Nature, understood as that telos towards which every created thing seeks its perfection.

It’s also about sodomy, which behavior is clearly unnatural, and – as Reilly carefully, meticulously proves – it was always considered so. Look to Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle – Greeks, of course, whose culture is often (wrongly) portrayed as homophile – all of whom condemned sodomy as disordered.

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