May 17, 2010

Homily for the Seventh Sunday in Easter, Year C



Father Michael J. Woolley

Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense, my reward with me.

Jesus, who this past Thursday Ascended into Heaven, is coming soon back to us. On Pentecost Sunday He will come into the hearts of the disciples in the Upper Room, bringing them “His reward”, the Holy Spirit, with Him.

(St. Paul, incidentally, calls the Holy Spirit the “down payment” of that reward given to all who follow Jesus in this life. On judgment day, Jesus will “pay in full” each person according to his or her deeds.)

This time between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost Sunday is kind of a mini-Advent for the Church, it is a time of waiting for God to come to us in a more powerful way.

On Ascension Thursday Jesus told the disciples Go and make disciples of all nations . . . .but first, wait. Wait in the Upper Room and pray for the coming of my Holy Spirit.

And this “mini-Advent” period of waiting for the coming of God the Holy Spirit into the world was much shorter and much different than that other more well known Advent period of waiting for the coming of God the Son into the world.

According to Biblical History, which may or may not be literal, God’s People had to wait and pray about 9000 years before Jesus the promised Messiah was finally born for them in Bethlehem.

In contrast, the Disciples had to wait only 9 days for the promised Holy Spirit to come to them.

And furthermore, the Israelites had to wait all those years in darkness, with only the dim, obscure light of the Old Testament to guide them (which is why we wear dark colored, purple vestments the 4 weeks of Advent leading up to Xmas).

In contrast, the Disciples of Jesus waited those 9 days for the Holy Spirit with the blazing light of the Gospel to see by – while they waited in the Upper Room they reflected and prayed on the teachings and mighty deeds of Jesus, on His Passion and Death, on His Resurrection and Ascension, all of which enlightened their hearts and flooded the Old Testament Scriptures with light, revealing the hidden meaning of the Old Testament. (This is why during this “little advent” we’re now in, we don’t wear dark Purple but bright White Vestments.)

At the end of that 9000 year Advent, Christ was Born in Bethlehem. At the end of that 9 day Advent, Christ was Born again in the hearts of all believers.

And so my brothers and sisters, this mini-Advent time we are in between Ascension and Pentecost is for the Church and for us a time of intense prayer and waiting for the Holy Spirit to be born in a deeper way in our hearts...
For more homilies by Father Woolley go here

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