Acts 8:5-8, 14-17; Ps. 66; 1 Pt. 3:15-18; Jn. 14:15-21
(Audio recorded live, 13 May 2023)
Today, our readings focus us on the vital role that the Holy Spirit plays in the life of the Christian. In the Acts of the Apostles, the people of Samaria had only been baptized in the name of Jesus. They had not yet received the fullness of grace in the Spirit. So, the apostles came from Jerusalem to lay hands on them so that they may receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. In a similar way, during the celebration of the sacrament of Confirmation, the words, “Receive the Holy Spirit,” are spoken as the confirmandi are anointed.
St. Luke tells us the disciples in Samaria were filled with great joy. The psalmist echoes this joy saying, “Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.” Certainly being cured from a disease or freed from demonic oppression is cause for great joy, but there is also a theological component to receiving the Holy Spirit. When we receive the Spirit, we are sanctified by the Lord.
St. Peter encourages the disciples to, “Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts.” We are all called to a life of holiness, and that life of holiness comes by way of sanctification. How do we live a life of holiness? Jesus makes this clear in the Gospel when he says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Those who keep his commandments will receive the Advocate, the Spirit of truth, who will be with us always. The key to our sanctification, then, is to live the Law of Love, which Jesus has commanded.
Jesus warns his disciples that the world cannot accept the Spirit of truth because the world neither sees nor knows him. This is true today as people seek to promote their own version of the truth, rather than accept what is objectively true. There is no such thing as your truth and my truth. There is only one truth, and Jesus has given us the Spirit of truth to lead us to all truth.
The greatest truth we have all received is the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. He did so not for his own gain, but for ours. He gives his life for the sake of his friends, and he remains with us in the Spirit as we encounter him in the Most Blessed Sacrament. So, may the communion we share today sanctify us in the Spirit of truth as we seek to keep the commandments with love. For as Jesus says, “whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him."