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Youth Ministry Resources - 6th Sunday of Easter

Year A: John 14:15-21 - Sending of the Holy Spirit - 6th Sunday of Easter

This passage follows on from our Gospel read last Sunday and we hear how Jesus is preparing his disciples for the time when he is no longer physically present. There is great love and reassurance in his words because Jesus knows of the fears the disciples hold. Jesus insists that "if you love me you will keep my commandments" here Jesus is reminding them that he is leaving them with the guidance they will need to make their decisions in life, when they are tested or their faith is challenged - love God and keep the Commandments.

This passage is emersed in Trinitarian language and so it can sound as if a circular argument is being presented - Jesus is in the Father and the Advocate or Paraclete comes from the Father and from Jesus. Jesus is assuring his disciples that even when he is no longer physically present, God's Spirit of truth will remain with them and stand by them in times of trial. I will not leave you orphans - Jesus uses this term knowing that orphans in the 1st Century Mediterranean culture had no voice in this honour and shame culture. They had lost their 'honour' with the death of their parents and frequently had no one to speak for them so that they could regain their 'honour.' When Jesus is with the disciples they receive their 'honour' in the society through his charismatic presence and the power of his leadership so when Jesus is no longer with them, the Paraclete will maintain their honour.

Jesus is continually present in our world today. Most of us would immediately think of Eucharist and how Jesus is present there, unfortunately many would only name the presence of Christ in the Eucharist species of bread and wine. The documents of the 2nd Vatican Council remind us of God's presence in a variety of ways. Sacrosanctum Concilium 7 clearly states that Christ is present in the people gathered, in the Presider, in God's Word along with the Eucharistic species, so if we are going to genuflect to Christ's presence in the tabernacle, perhaps we should also genuflect to God's presence in the people, to the Presider, and to the Word. Sometimes it is difficult to remember in our dealings with people that Christ is present in each one. If this reality was at the forefront of our minds we would be most courteous and loving to all we met, including those people who make our lives difficult at times. This is a challenge for each one of us from today's Gospel - to love God in all those around us.

Cate Mapstone

Year A: Jn14:23-29 - 6th Sunday of Easter

Today's Gospel continues the teaching of Jesus in what is known as his "farewell discourse" in John's Gospel. This lengthy discourse is Jesus' way of reassuring the disciples that they will manage without him. Jesus reminds us that to enjoy God's presence all we need to do is keep God's word. Perhaps the easiest way to summarise God's word is to love God and to "love one another as I have loved you." Easy to summarise but not as easy to live out. We are assured by Jesus that if we do so, God will be with us. When I journey with people through special times in their lives, I often speak to them about God being present in our lives. This can be a difficult concept for some people to accept. They frequently name special times as 'coincidence' rather than the action of God. It takes faith to recognise that God loves you enough to want to be in your life. To be in our life means that we have some insight into the Trinitarian relationship.

Just as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are so closely enmeshed in each other, God is offering us a taste of this divine relationship by seeking relationship with us. It really is an experience of Emmanuel - God-with-us. It is up to us to decide if we want God in our lives. Unfortunately too many people seem to have filled their lives with the busyness of this world that God has been squeezed out. When we choose to accept God's invitation into relationship our lives are filled in a different way. When we have to face up to the difficulties of life, we have the reassurance that we do not do this alone. Jesus promised that we would have the Holy Spirit to remind us of God's love and to continue teaching us.

One of the most exciting aspects of this Gospel is the promise of God's peace. "Peace I bequeath to you, a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you." How amazing is that! God's peace helps us resolve the conflicts in our lives. Sometimes it is seems easier to walk away from conflict and we can only resolve conflict when we know that it is God's peace that is being offered. This helps each of us to form right relationships in family, with friends, neighbours, work colleagues, neighbourhoods, almost any exchange that we have with others has the option for peace - that is God's gift to you and me.

Cate Mapstone

Youth Ministry Resources 6th Sunday of Easter
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Youth Ministry Resources 6th Sunday of Easter