(Begin by reading the Gospel. Sometimes it is good to have someone read it to you. It is good to hear the Word of God.)
This Sunday we celebrate the sixth Sunday of Easter. The season of Easter continues for seven weeks until Pentecost, the feast of the Holy Spirit. As Pentecost approaches, we consider what Jesus says about the Holy Spirit. He begins by speaking of his Father.
Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.
God loves us. God comes to us. God makes God's home with us.
What is Jesus telling us?
The people who live together in a home are family, so Jesus tells us that God chooses us to be God's family.
We are chosen.
We love Jesus and we keep his word.
What does it mean to keep his word? "Keeping our word" means to keep a promise—to do what we say we will do. Keeping his word, though, means to treasure it.
Why should we treasure Jesus' word?
the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.
Jesus' word is the Word of God.
So how do we treasure the Word of God?
We show that we treasure it by the way we carry the Word in church,
the way we place it on the ambo,
the way we listen when it is read.
We treasure the Word of God by taking it seriously,
by asking questions about it,
by pondering what it means.
We know the Word contains many mysteries. So, as we treasure it,
“the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.
God sends the Holy Spirit so we can know the Word, so we can understand it, so we can remember.
God sends the Holy Spirit so that the Word of God becomes our Word, so that we may keep our Word, so that we may do what we say we will do.
God sends the Holy Spirit so that we can build the Kingdom of God.
When we treasure the Word of God, our hearts are open to the workings of the Holy Spirit. We use those gifts of the Holy Spirit.
We know, we understand,
we make right choices and have the strength to carry them out,
our hearts fill with wonder and awe and we kneel in the presence of God.
We see life the way God sees it.
When we use the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the fruit of the Holy Spirit appear in our lives.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.
Peace—that fruit of the Holy Spirit—is not the peace that the world gives. It does not just mean no more yelling, no more fighting, no more war. Peace, fruit of the Spirit, means to heal, to restore to fullness, to make whole. Complete. The way God means it to be.
When we pray for peace in the world, what are we praying for? Could it be that we are asking God to help us use those gifts of the Holy Spirit so that little-by-little our hearts are healed, our families are restored to fullness, our world is made whole?
So let us pray St. Augustine's prayer so that our world begins to fill with the fruit of the Holy Spirit: