THE DEMAND AND THE PROMISE: HOMILY FOR THE 6TH SUNDAY OF EASTER YEAR C Rev. Fr. Boniface Nkem Anusiem PhD

 

The African has high regard for the words of a dying person. It is believed that such people are given some insight into the future and for that reason anything a dying person says is often taken to be normative. Often a dying person would make a demand and make a promise. For instance one dying man called his children together and bringing a broom he asked who among them could break the broom. Expectantly all of them indicated. Consequently they all tried to break the broom but non succeeded. He then asked them to single out the broom and to try breaking and it was easy. Then he said to them: “stay together like the broom and when you do that, nobody can destroy you”. We can see the demand and the promise.  

Today just like last Sunday we have part of the valedictory words of our Lord Jesus Christ. These statements are so powerful because they contain some monumental intentions of our Lord Jesus Christ; his final demand and promise. Frist he talked about love. Someone may say “love again!” Yes! We can have it as a theme over and over again because it is the core and basic aspect of our connection with God. Psalm 136 says that love is eternal. St. Paul says that it endures all things (1 Cor. 13:7). St. John calls God love (1 John 4:1).

Today our Lord Jesus Christ made it clear that we can only obey or if you like keep his words only if we love him. Love becomes the torchlight for obedience and it also attracts God to the extent that he will desire to build a home within the one that shows love. The divine arithmetic here shows the following:

Love + obedience =God presence.

The negative form of this arithmetic is:

Hatred + disobedience = Absence of God. (When we operate without God we are simply lost).

       To achieve the mission of love Jesus promised the apostles the coming of the advocate, the Holy Spirit who will be there to remind them of all he had said. An advocate is one that speaks for another especially in a law suit. Here the advocate is more than a legal aid. He is more of a special guide and a teacher that does not make mistakes. By the promise of an advocate the disciples got admission into “Holy Spirit Comprehensive Academy.” Here they become students under the pedagogical tutelage of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit here has the mandate of leading them to the entire truth.

Finally Jesus promised peace to his disciples. This peace is what the world cannot give. In our world today there are innumerable promises of peace at various quarters. Politicians promise the citizens that during their tenure in office there will be absolute and unmitigated peace. Parents vow to build peaceful homes. Nutritionists, dieticians, pharmacists, and so on promise people inner peace when they take one product or the other. Friends and relations often agree at some points to allow peace to reign among them. Television, telephone, internet and other electronic devices promise us peace. But on a closer examination we see that some of these peace projects begin and end abruptly because there was basically lack of extensive foundation. The foundation upon which peace or any other worthwhile thing can be built is love followed by obedience and the action of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The spiritual methodology runs thus:

Love› Obedience› God’s presence› Holy Spirit› Peace

From the above we see clearly that the world cannot give peace except it begins from Love which is God through obedience, God’s presence and the action of the Holy Spirit. Often what we have in the world is not peace but absence of war which can be seen as tolerance and tolerance has no spiritual foundation.  In a spiritual sense we rather talk of fortitude and acceptance. The promise of peace by Jesus was an indication to the disciples that they will face a turbulent and peace-evading situation and this showed itself when Jesus Christ was arrested and forcefully taken away and the disciples were scattered and all links to peace was destroyed.

By loving God and obeying him through the leading of the Holy Spirit we are led to authentic peace. There is a highway to the attainment of peace and we need to go that way. We actually need peace in our individual lives, we need peace in our families, we need peace in our communities, we need peace in our nations and we need peace in the world. However someone needs to make peace to work; someone has to let go, someone has to forgive, someone has to reach out. If we don’t love we cannot get love we rather get lost. If we don’t obey, God will not come to us and we lose the direction of the Holy Spirit and ultimately peace. Peace without God is piecemeal.

I am wishing you a glorious Sunday.

Fr. Bonnie.

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