6th Sunday of Easter A 

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As we get nearer to the Ascension and Pentecost the Church presents us - in the daily and Sunday readings- with the reasoning behind / explanation of what is about to happen; Jesus returns to His Father but He is sending the Holy Spirit, His Advocate, to be with us for ever. So many of us have been confirmed and we often call upon the Holy Spirit for help or remember that He is with us or pray to Him. Is that because we remember He is with us or are we praying He will be with us? 
 
Jesus also talks about commandments - that is a word that sometimes frightens people - being told what to do somehow upsets them, or impinges on their freedom- ' How can you love me if you keep telling me what to do?' We know that if you love someone you try to guide them to do the right thing- we may even command them. Parents, teachers, grandparents do it all the time. In essence commandments are guidelines. 
 
The emphasis here, of course, is that all of this is done out of love. Loving someone and being loved is quite a responsibility - sometimes it is even quite frightening- ask any new parent! Jesus promises us as well as His disciples the Holy Spirit. We can't do things on our own - we've tried often enough, I'm sure, so we have to have help and Jesus promises it to us. 
 
Towards the end Jesus talks about Him being in His Father, we are in Him and He is in us. In other words He is talking about relationships -what every family, every school, every business etc are built on. In all the discussion about sacraments, about ongoing catechesis , the one thing that is so important and that is sometimes glossed over is essentially that our faith, numbers in or out of church DEPENDS on each one of us, individually and then as a group, a congregation, having a relationship with God, a life of prayer. Without this what do we have, who are we? When we love something e.g. a certain type of food, a programme, a book or some music and we try and get others to love it too , they often don't it straight away- until they experience it for themselves. 
 
Our relationship with God is something like that - so this week we ask the Holy Spirit, who is with us for ever, to help us with that relationship. 
 
Sr. Margaret Mattison