Saint Teresa of Avila, the 16th-century Spanish mystic, saw an angel rushing towards her, carrying a torch and a bucket of water. “Where are you going with that torch and bucket,” she asked; “what will you do with them?”
“With the water,” the angel answered, “I will put out the fires of hell, and with the fire, I will burn down the mansions of heaven; then we will see who really loves God.”
The angel’s point is that many people obey God’s commandments out of fear or hope of reward in heaven. But Jesus tells us, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.” Jesus loves us, so he says; Father will give us an Advocate in his name.
This weekend supposed to have Confirmation. Because of our present situation, it is postponed. Today’s readings speak about joy. There is the joy that new Christians in Samaria had after Philip baptized them. There is the joy that St. Peter tells us is the reason for our hope. There is the joy that Jesus says comes from the Love of the Father. Jesus says Father will give you the Holy Spirit, the animating power of love.
The first reading Philip perched the Good News to people of Samaria and Peter and John went there to give baptism and laying hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. Peter’s the first letter to the Church explains how the Holy Spirit makes possible God-fearing lives in the midst of opposition and persecution. Peter encourages the Christians in the midst of persecution in the second reading.
Jesus made a long farewell speech at the Last Supper. Today’s Gospel reading is part of the long "Farewell Discourse." Jesus assures his disciples that they will not be left as orphans. Like the Good counselor He is, the Holy Spirit enables us to become stronger. The Holy Spirit comes to our aid and gives us the strength to make difficult and painful decisions. The Holy Spirit actually lives in us, and we hear the voice of the Spirit, counseling, and guiding us in the way of truth. Let us open our minds and hearts to hear Him and to obey His promptings.
Let us pray for our Confirmation Candidates, their sponsors, and families. Let us also pray for our graduates.