6th Week of Easter
1st Reading: Acts 16:22-34
The crowd in Philippi joined in the attack on Paul and Silas, and the magistrates had them stripped and ordered them to be beaten with rods. After inflicting many blows on them, they threw them into prison and instructed the jailer to guard them securely. When he received these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and secured their feet to a stake. About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God as the prisoners listened, there was suddenly such a severe earthquake that the foundations of the jail shook; all the doors flew open, and the chains of all were pulled loose. When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, thinking that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted out in a loud voice, “Do no harm to yourself; we are all here.” He asked for a light and rushed in and, trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved.” So they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in his house. He took them in at that hour of the night and bathed their wounds; then he and all his family were baptized at once. He brought them up into his house and provided a meal and with his household rejoiced at having come to faith in God.
Gospel: Jn 16:5-11
Jesus said to his disciples: “Now I am going to the one who sent me, and not one of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I told you this, grief has filled your hearts. But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes he will convict the world in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation: sin, because they do not believe in me; righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; condemnation, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.”
WHAT IS SIN? It is easy to define ‘sin’ in terms of breaking the Ten Commandments or such. In today’s gospel Jesus defines ‘sin’ as not believing in Him. Again, ‘believing’ could be easily reduced to reciting a creed. In the Gospel of John, believing is always a verb that indicates a movement towards an experiential relationship. We are created to be in relationship with God, when we do not honour that goal and do not grow in that relationship, we sin. The Greek word for sin is ‘hamartia’ – that is missing the target. The target of our life is to be one with God in Jesus. And, the Spirit of God, that Jesus promises will keep us in that relationship.
Prayer: Lord, I surrender myself to the Spirit who will lead me back to you.
LOVES GRANTS A NEW BEGINNIG: The words spoken by Jesus during his farewell describing his “departure” as a condition for the “coming” of the Counselor, should be read as a new beginning. It is a new beginning in relation to the beginnings of God´s salvation in creation: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…, and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters” (Gen 1:1-2). It is a new beginning, first of all, because between the first beginning and the whole of human history sin has intervened, which is in contradiction to God´s plan of salvation of humanity. The victory of Christ through the Cross has the power of love. It inaugurates a new presence of the Spirit of God in creation: the new beginning of God´s love to humanity in the Holy Spirit. While Jesus´s departure caused sorrow to the Apostles, he assured them: “this sorrow will turn into joy.” Through the agony of the Cross which brings about God´s love, the Spirit comes in order to remain with the Church and, through her with the whole creation and humanity.