From the pastor’s desk
Sixth Sunday of Easter – Year C– “the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will instruct you in everything, and remind you of all that I told you (John 14:26).”
In the Greek legal system, as it is in our contemporary world, the advocate (ho paraklitos) was the one called to one’s side in court for the defense of his innocence and rights. He was a person’s legal assistance or a counsel for defense. Commonly, he is a comforter, a consoler and defender. As Our Lord,
Jesus Christ was going away from this world and going back to the Father, knowing that his flock would face so much difficulties and hardships without his physical presence. He promised them the gift of the Holy Spirit so that they would not be left orphans. Our Lord knows that the world will lure us into ugliness, away from the beauty in which we were created in the image and likeness of God. he promised us the helper who will lead us back from ugliness to our former beauty and fill us with his grace. In this way, we will no longer have any propensity for the things inimical to, and unworthy of love. The helper will give us heaven instead of earth and will enable us to have love for the things of heaven. Our Lord knows that his followers will face oppositions and challenges, he promises us the helper, who will give us at all times the Easter peace which is not absence of wars. The helper will recreate in us, who are Disciples of Christ, the experiences of Jesus Christ that in every struggle, we will always be victorious.
The devil will never defeat us in battle as we will be victorious in every trial. Through the Cross, we will always come to the glories of the resurrection. Our Lord knows that as humans, our minds are limited,
we cannot remember everything he has revealed to us at ones, he promises us the helper who will instruct us and remind us of all that he has taught us. The Holy Spirit, the helper promised by Our Lord Jesus Christ will recreate us and replicate his life, death, and resurrection in us. The Holy Spirit will form us into the mystical Body of Christ, the People of God, the Church.
The Holy Spirit has always been in action within the Holy Church. He has been guiding the Church at various moments in her history especially in times of difficulties, guiding the church into all truth revealed by Jesus Christ, helping, guiding and preserving the deposit of faith in the church. Today, the problem was about the admission of non-Jews or gentiles into Christianity. The Judaizing party, came down to Antioch from Judea teaching the people to first become Jews by circumcision before they could become Christians and be saved,. The problem created led to the first council of Jerusalem about the year 49AD. Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit the apostles came to a solution as we heard today as follows: “It is the decision of the Holy Spirit, and ours too, not to lay on you any burden beyond that which is strictly necessary, namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals, and from illicit sexual union (Acts 15:28-29).” The Holy Spirit has helped the first council of Jerusalem to come to consensus between the differing parties by including two moral laws and two Jewish laws. The decree contributed to the harmony between the Jewish and Gentile Christians.
In this way, we see that the Holy Spirit promised by Our Lord Jesus Christ reconciles differences and unites opposing parties. The apostles and their successors are always guided by the Holy Spirit to bring the Body of Christ to all nations. This is the universality of the church revealed to St. John the Beloved Disciple on the Island of Patmos. The beautiful holy city Jerusalem coming out of heaven with twelve gates guided by the angels; with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel and the names of the twelven apostles written on the twelve courses of its stones. The four corners faced all directions symbolizing
the whole world. May the Holy Spirit work with us, in the same way he did with the apostles, to safe- guard the unity and universality of the church.
Rev. Fr. Michael Onyekwere, SDV, PhD