Acts 8:5-8,14-17; Psalm 66 Let all the earth cry out to god with Joy; 1 Peter 3:15-18; John 14:15-21
We have been reading over the season of Easter from the Acts of the Apostles. The acts of the Apostles details not os much what the Apostles are doing but rather what the action of the Spirit looks like in the Apostles as they journey forth.
It isn't so much what the Spirit is doing to the apostles and the Early Church but rather what the Holy Spirit is doing with them. The Acts of the Apostles or the action of the Spirit is about how Jesus becomes king, his kingdom begins to reign and be established on earth.
Jesus influence touches the corners of the world by and through the lives of men and women of faith.
The Holy Spirit is called the paraclete or the prosecutor: the Spirit through men and women of faith engage the powers of the word and pass judgment on them through the power of speech, word. This is why St Peter says in today's second reading we should give a explanation for our hope. Just as a prosecutor tries to persuade the jury so we by our life and words seek to persuade the world of God's invitation to life and love.
The Action of the Spirit is to sanctify Christ as Lord in our heats. That is to make in our hearts a place for Jesus to reign, to give direction, to give guidance so that His spirit triumphs over the spirit of the world in our personal lives. Peter ask us to dedicate our heart to the Lord. In the first century our heart was the center of life which included our emotions, desires, intelligence and reason, will, and sensibilities.
All of this is meant to be ruled by Jesus and his Spirit. How often do we let the Spirit of the world rule our emotions and will and desires.
St Peter ges on to say that we should be always ready to give explanation to anyone who asks for a reason for our hope." The word hope is used for expectations.
How often I have met with couples struggling in marriage and leaning toward divorce and many of them will tell me, "This is not what I expected." What marriage life had become is not what they expected. I ask them, "what did you expect?" Then i remind them of their vows. The vows are beautiful. The vows made are about true expectations, the expectations we have should always be expansive and all encompassing and never narrow and restrictive,: "good times and bad, sickness and health, love and honor all the days of my life." The problem is that most couples don't expect enough. The expectations they have are set by themselves and not by the Spirit of God at work in and through them. We are told that all things work for Good for those who love God. Out side of abuse and harm, we should expect more and more to unfold with the Sprit's guidance.
The Spirit is describes at the Advocate in today's gospel. The word advocate means prosecutor, the one who plead another's cause. The Spirit is pleading Jesus's cause in and through our life to the world. Our life of love passes judgment on the spirit of the world. We can to be of the world if we are called to transform it by life in the Spirit.
Lastly Jesus tells us that, "And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him." In loving him, we come to meet him. Think about that. We don't wait to love until we encounter Jesus. Rather in loving as he commanded we open ourselves up to encountering him deeply and truly in our life. In loving him he reveals himself to us. What a gift and blessing for us as we allow the Spirit of God, the action of the Spirit to influence our heart, our emotions, our desires, our intelligence, reason and will.
Todays gospel ends on verse 21 of chapter 14 of John's gospel. But if you read the next verse Judas of Iscariot ask Jesus, "how is it you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world." Jesus' answer is simple. Through us, the world we will come to know him. As we love him and he reveals himself to us then he also reveals himself to the world. This is the action of the Spirit at work in our lives.
What does Jesus want? He wants the world to encounter him. How does that happen? It happens though us who believe and love as he commands. And this is our expectation, our hope, our life and joy inner daily journey.