Fr. Ron Serban - 21/05/2017

Acts 8:5-8, 14-17closeActs 8:5-8 Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ. And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip when they heard him and saw the signs that he did. For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was much joy in that city. Acts 8:14-17 14 Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, 15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. (ESV) closeActs 8:5-8closeActs 8:5-8 Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ. And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip when they heard him and saw the signs that he did. For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was much joy in that city. (ESV) Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ. And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip when they heard him and saw the signs that he did. For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was much joy in that city. Acts 8:14-17closeActs 8:14-17 14 Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, 15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. (ESV) 14 Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, 15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. (ESV) ; Psalms 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20; 1closePsalm 66:1-3 How Awesome Are Your Deeds To the choirmaster. A Song. A Psalm. 66:1 Shout for joy to God, all the earth;
sing the glory of his name;
give to him glorious praise!
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you.
Psalm 66:4-5 All the earth worships you
and sings praises to you;
they sing praises to your name.” Selah Come and see what God has done:
he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
Psalm 66:6-7 He turned the sea into dry land;
they passed through the river on foot.
There did we rejoice in him,
who rules by his might forever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah
Psalm 66:16 16 Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
Psalm 66:20 20 Blessed be God,
because he has not rejected my prayer
or removed his steadfast love from me!
Psalm 66:1 How Awesome Are Your Deeds To the choirmaster. A Song. A Psalm. 66:1 Shout for joy to God, all the earth; (ESV)
closePsalm 66:1-3closePsalm 66:1-3 How Awesome Are Your Deeds To the choirmaster. A Song. A Psalm. 66:1 Shout for joy to God, all the earth;
sing the glory of his name;
give to him glorious praise!
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you. (ESV)
How Awesome Are Your Deeds To the choirmaster. A Song. A Psalm. 66:1 Shout for joy to God, all the earth;
sing the glory of his name;
give to him glorious praise!
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you.
Psalm 66:4-5closePsalm 66:4-5 All the earth worships you
and sings praises to you;
they sing praises to your name.” Selah Come and see what God has done:
he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man. (ESV)
All the earth worships you
and sings praises to you;
they sing praises to your name.” Selah Come and see what God has done:
he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
Psalm 66:6-7closePsalm 66:6-7 He turned the sea into dry land;
they passed through the river on foot.
There did we rejoice in him,
who rules by his might forever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah (ESV)
He turned the sea into dry land;
they passed through the river on foot.
There did we rejoice in him,
who rules by his might forever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah
Psalm 66:16closePsalm 66:16 16 Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for my soul. (ESV)
16 Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
Psalm 66:20closePsalm 66:20 20 Blessed be God,
because he has not rejected my prayer
or removed his steadfast love from me! (ESV)
20 Blessed be God,
because he has not rejected my prayer
or removed his steadfast love from me!
Psalm 66:1closePsalm 66:1 How Awesome Are Your Deeds To the choirmaster. A Song. A Psalm. 66:1 Shout for joy to God, all the earth; (ESV) How Awesome Are Your Deeds To the choirmaster. A Song. A Psalm. 66:1 Shout for joy to God, all the earth; (ESV)
Peter 3:15-18close1 Peter 3:15-18 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, (ESV) close1 Peter 3:15-18close1 Peter 3:15-18 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, (ESV) 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, (ESV) ; John 14:15-21closeJohn 14:15-21 Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. 18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” (ESV) closeJohn 14:15-21closeJohn 14:15-21 Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. 18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” (ESV) Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. 18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” (ESV)

The Spirit of Truth

In today’s Gospel Jesus is saying goodbye to his disciples. He sees them sad and upset, because soon they won’t have him with them – and who can fill that void? Until now he has been the one who took care of them, defended them from the Scribes and Pharisees, sustained their weak and faltering faith, described for them the truth of God, and initiated them into God’s great family project for humanity.
Jesus speaks to them passionately about the Spirit. He doesn’t want to leave them orphans. He himself will ask the Father not to abandon them, to give them ‘another Advocate’ that will ‘be with you always’. Jesus calls this advocate ‘the Spirit of truth’. What is hidden behind these words of Jesus?
This ‘Spirit of truth’ mustn’t be confused with a doctrine. This truth won’t be sought in theologians’ books or in the hierarchy’s documents. It’s something much more profound. Jesus says that this Spirit ‘remains in you, and will be in you’. This Spirit is encouragement, power, light, love… that reaches us from God’s ultimate mystery. We must
welcome this Spirit with a simple and trusting heart.
This ‘Spirit of truth’ doesn’t change us into ‘owners’ of the truth. It doesn’t come so that we
impose our faith on others, or control their orthodoxy. It comes so that we aren’t left as orphans of Jesus, and invites us to be open to Jesus’ truth: listening, welcoming and living his Gospel.
Nor does this ‘Spirit of truth’ make us keepers of the truth, but witnesses. Our task isn’t to argue with, oppose or overthrow adversaries, but to live the truth of the Gospel and ‘love Jesus, keeping his commands’.
This ‘Spirit of truth’ is within each one of us, defending us from all that can separate us from Jesus. It invites us to open ourselves with simplicity to the mystery of a God who is the Friend of life. Whoever seeks this God with honesty and truth isn’t far off from God. Jesus said on one occasion: ‘Everyone who is of the truth, listens to my voice’. That’s both
a deep truth and a challenging invitation.
This ‘Spirit of truth’ invites us to live in the truth of Jesus in the midst of a society where all too often “Alternative Facts” masquerade as the truth. How often nowadays are lies justified as strategy, exploitation is called business, irresponsibility is called tolerance, injustice is called status quo, arbitrariness is called freedom, lack of respect is called
sincerity….

  • 1. What meaning does Jesus’ Church have if we allow ourselves in our communities to lose this ‘Spirit of truth’?
  • 2. Who can save it from self-deception, dead ends, generalized mediocrity?
  • 3. Who will announce the Good News of Jesus in a society that is so in need of encouragement and hope?

Father Ron

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