SUNDAY 16TH MAY 2021
SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
1 John 4:11-16
THE HOLY SPIRIT CAN ONLY DWELL IN A HEART OF LOVE
Today is the last Sunday before Pentecost, the Easter season is almost over. On Thursday of this week, we celebrated the Ascension of Jesus into heaven. We can only imagine how painful it must have been for the Apostles to see Jesus leave them again. They had not overcome the trauma of his death and resurrection. The leadership of the church began to take shape as soon as Jesus ascended into heaven, Peter took his duty as leader of the Church and his first work was to call for a replacement for Judas as we see in the first reading of today and the feast of St Matthias on Friday of this week. It is very important that we try to be united with the church of Christ, and the various societies and organisations we belong to in the church. We may feel too big among others or cut ourselves away by our lifestyle of pride, disloyalty, carelessness, greed, anger or any other personal factor. As in the case of Judas, he chose money over Jesus and the gospel, and he was easily replaced. No one is indispensable.
The scenario of the early church is very lovely. Unlike today where people campaign and lobby for positions even inside the church, Peter and the other Apostles called on God, they prayed and cast lot, and it fell on Matthias. We are not told that Matthias campaigned for the post, Joseph his colleague did not reject the result. Everyone worked peacefully and lovingly for the growth of the church.
It is also very important to see how the owner of the upper room allowed the Apostles to stay there for this long time. After staying there for 40 days, Jesus told them to remain there for another 10 days, they should not go out until the day of Pentecost. Many early Christians such as Dorcas, Lydia, Priscilia and Aquilla, Cornelius and many others, expressed the love of God to make the faith to germinate and grow in the early church.
The second reading of today, draws our attention to the love of God, which we are to show to one another for the growth of humanity. Jesus gave us a new commandment today, that we should love one another as he has loved us.
In the gospel reading, Jesus prays for unity among all Christians. Only those who are united can experience and share the love of God. We are awaiting the coming of the Holy Spirit, he will fall afresh on us once again, but the Holy Spirit can only dwell in a heart full of love. As Jesus ascended to heaven, he made it clear that only love and concern for one another can help us survive this world. May we be fully ready to receive the Holy Spirit in our hearts. Amen.
Fr Michael Osatofoh Eninlejie, MSP