Gospel Lectio Divina for Sixth Sunday of Easter

Gospel Lectio Divina for Sixth Sunday of Easter

By David Kilby

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

 

READ
Jn 14:23-29

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.

“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.
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.”

 

MEDITATE

“Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him”

As difficult as it may be to keep his commandments, it is refreshing to know there is a simple answer to the question, “Do I really love God?” Often I want to say, “I don’t know”. Have I kept his commandments? Yes. Then in doing so I have shown my love for him. If the answer is no, I have not kept his commandments, then I have failed in loving him. It’s that simple. Sometimes I may follow some of his commandments for selfish reasons. I may, for example, follow them with a self-righteous, I-am-holier-than-others motive. I may follow his commandments with sheer determination, like a runner preparing for a marathon. My devotions, good deeds, prayers, and fasting, may all be motivated by desire to better myself. But there is a problem with this approach to God’s commandments. If I am doing it all to better myself, eventually I am going to expect something in return. When we follow God’s commandments out of sheer love for him, there is a mutual exchange of love. Whatever good comes to me brings God joy, and gives me yet another reason to praise him. The opportunity to praise him then becomes the only good I seek in return. Any good that comes to me from following God’s commandments is a bonus, not an expectation. The mutual love is enough, just like in any solid relationship. Thus, if I follow his commandments out of anything but sheer love for him, that ulterior motive will eventually run dry and my true intentions will be revealed. But if I follow his commandments because I love him, both will be much easier. 

“we will come to him and make our dwelling with him”

These words show the divine union between God the Father and Jesus the Son. They also point to the Eucharist and the Church’s teaching on receiving the Body and Blood. Jesus is saying when we follow God’s commandments, only then will the Father and Son come to make their dwelling with us. That “make our dwelling with him” part is referring to the Eucharist. If I do not keep his commandments but go up to receive the Eucharist anyway, I am lying and Jesus’ words cannot be fulfilled. They can only be fulfilled in truth, because he is truth. If there is a lie in my heart when I go up to receive, I am bringing Jesus into a lying heart. The actual spiritual reality of what happens when we receive Jesus in this way is not for us to know this side of heaven. In my struggle to keep God’s commandments, If I am not in the state of grace I have to be honest with myself and go up to receive just a blessing from the priest. Oftentimes, receiving a blessing affords its own special grace. This is by design. It’s God’s gentle way of leading us back to him.

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.

My nieces are receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation this Sunday. These words of Christ solidify the value and purpose of that sacrament. God did not leave us as orphans. Jesus called us children during his ministry and still calls us the same today. As children around the world receive their Confirmation this week and in coming weeks, let’s celebrate with them the fact that God sent us his Holy Spirit, his Advocate, to stay with us here on earth and walk with us through all the trials that living the Faith will bring. Let’s pray for the young souls who will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and pray that through them God renews the face of the earth. 

will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you

What sweet faithfulness to Jesus’ teachings the Church has practiced! The Magisterium of the Church was established to embody these words of Christ. It doesn’t have the authority to establish new teachings and commandments. It can only teach us and remind us of all that Jesus taught us. When Church authorities make declarations that are not in some way backed up by Jesus’ teachings, they are stepping outside their ministry and authority. I say this not to raise suspicion, but to offer a reminder that Church leaders are human as well and are entitled to their opinion just as much as we are. Sometimes we interpret their opinions as Church teaching. If they are not speaking on issues of faith and morals from their “cathedra”--or the chair of their office as priest, bishop, or pope–they are not exercising their authority. Many clerics go to public places without wearing a Roman collar, cassock, or any other attire indicating they are a teacher of the words of Christ. Is there a time when the Church cleric is ever off-duty? Can he go to a pub and say to himself, “I’m not going to represent the teachings of Christ today.” Does this make him more approachable? The answers to these questions are as varied as the many different rites, orders, and communities in the Church. The gift of the Holy Spirit can be put on the shelf, if one so chooses. Whether it is right or wrong to do so is for God to decide. I will say this: In many other cultures, such as Amish and some Jewish communities, even lay people go to public places wearing certain attire to indicate their faith tradition. I believe priests and religious should do the same, if only because it is a beautiful testimony to what we believe. How does all of this connect to Jesus’ words, that the “Holy Spirit … will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you”? It’s connected because we are the conduit of Christ’s teachings to the world. We ought to make that clear to others in whatever way we can. We ought to make ourselves approachable, make people curious, so people ask us questions about our faith. We do this by loving our neighbor, just as Christ teaches. If only we knew the true power of the Holy Spirit, we would take up the mission to spread Christ’s teachings every day.


PRAY

I do love you, Jesus. I detest my sins because they offend you, not just because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell. Forgive me of my sins, and teach me how to use the gift of the Holy Spirit that you gave me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

LISTEN

The teachings of Christ are glorious. They are unlike anything the world has ever been given. Christ’s teachings are not just words, they are encapsulations of the truth, goodness, and beauty found throughout all of creation. When we unpack them, the connections we see between them and life in general are endless. This is why it behooves us to listen closely whenever Christ speaks. There will always be something profound in his words that we can learn.

 

Kilby is a freelance writer from New Jersey and managing editor of Catholic World Report

 
 Glory to the Father The Son and The Holy Spirit