THE SPIRIT WITNESSES AGAINST THE WORLD
The life of Christ which the community of Christ leads and the mentality of Christ alive is in the Church, will bear witness against the world as far as it is still unredeemed and full of evil. The world accuses Christ to be a sinner, finds him guilty in its trial as an unjust man and condemns him. But who is the sinner? Who is found guilty? Who is condemned? Not Christ but the world. Who will prove this? The Spirit of Christ alive in the Church. If the Church lives the life of the just Christ, the works of the world will stand out as unjust, and the life of Christ led by Christians will be a condemnation of the world and its powers of evil.
Lord, our God,
you demand much of us, your Church,
by calling us to be witnesses
of your Son and of his message,
although we are men and women
who share in the sin of the world.
Send us your Holy Spirit
to open us all the time,
to renewal and conversion,
that your Church may show to the world
the true face of Jesus Christ,
your Son and our Lord forever. Amen!
1 Reading: ACTS 16:22-34
The crowd in Philippi joined in the attack on Paul and Silas, and the magistrates had them stripped and ordered them to be beaten with rods. After inflicting many blows on them, they threw them into prison and instructed the jailer to guard them securely. When he received these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and secured their feet to a stake. About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God as the prisoners listened, there was suddenly such a severe earthquake that the foundations of the jail shook; all the doors flew open, and the chains of all were pulled loose. When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, thinking that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted out in a loud voice, “Do no harm to yourself; we are all here.” He asked for a light and rushed in and, trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved.” So they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in his house. He took them in at that hour of the night and bathed their wounds; then he and all his family were baptized at once. He brought them up into his house and provided a meal and with his household rejoiced at having come to faith in God.
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 138:1-2AB, 2CDE-3, 7C-8
R. (7c) Your right hand saves me, O Lord. or: Alleluia.
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart,
for you have heard the words of my mouth;
in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise;
I will worship at your holy temple,
and give thanks to your name. R.
Because of your kindness and your truth,
you have made great above all things
your name and your promise.
When I called, you answered me;
you built up strength within me. R.
Your right hand saves me.
The LORD will complete what he has done for me;
your kindness, O LORD, endures forever;
forsake not the work of your hands. R.
Alleluia: JOHN 16:7, 13
I will send to you the Spirit of truth, says the Lord;
he will guide you to all truth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel: JOHN 16:5-11
Jesus said to his disciples: “Now I am going to the one who sent me, and not one of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I told you this, grief has filled your hearts. But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes he will convict the world in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation: sin, because they do not believe in me; righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; condemnation, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.”
Our Gospel today makes it clear that only with the departure of Jesus will the Paraclete come to guide and direct the nascent community. Here, in fact, it is Christ himself who will send the Spirit. With his coming, the Spirit will perform three important functions in the public forum. The world had taken a position on Jesus and will be proved wrong in the time to come.
The three areas of the world’s error are sin, justice, and condemnation. The sin consisted in their not believing in Jesus and thus rejecting God’s plan. The world had also judged wrongly in thinking that by condemning Jesus to death his cause had been vanquished. Finally, the world was wrong about condemnation. The true condemnation was not sentencing Jesus but in banishing Satan, the prince of this world. In three distinct ways, the correctness of Jesus’ cause is made evident and the world is proven wrong.
Today’s reading from Acts of the Apostles is an illustration of Christ’s truth. In the liberation of Paul and Silas from their prison cells, due to the shattering effects of an earthquake, the con-science of their jailer is awakened. The frightening episode is crowned with the joy of the jailer’s conversion. The world once again is convicted of sin, judgment, and condemnation.
The season of Pentecost, soon to begin, reminds us of the victory that Christ has attained for us. The sin of disbelief is overcome; the wrong judgment about Jesus vanishes in the light of his victory, and the power of evil, while still seeking its own, has been subdued. How true the words of the psalmist today: “Your stead-fast love O LORD endures forever.”
– That the people of God may keep thanking God that he has given us the grace to believe in him and in Jesus Christ and his Gospel, we pray:
– That the Holy Spirit may help us discern how much untruth and injustice there is still in our world and give us the boldness to testify in favor of the truth and the goodness of the Gospel, we pray:
– That we may believe that the Holy Spirit will guide our lives on the ways of Christ and his Gospel, we pray:
Prayer over the Gifts
here are bread and wine,
your gifts to us and our offerings to you
to be transformed into Christ.
Send us the Spirit of your Son,
that people who sit at this table
may also become living signs
of Christ’s presence among us
by our sharing with one another
and giving to the world the bread of justice.
We ask you this through Christ, our Lord. Amen!
Prayer after Communion
Lord, our God,
you have entrusted to us, your people,
the task of continuing the mission of your Son
of redeeming the world.
Send us the Holy Spirit of your Son
to make us credible witnesses:
men and women who live first
what we want others to accept and live,
men and women to whom
your Son is a real person and a way of life.
We ask you this through Christ, our Lord. Amen!
Christ gives the Holy Spirit to guide each of us and the whole Church in the ways of the Gospel. He will help us to bring the Gospel to the world by making us understand the message of Christ and giving us the discernment and the strength to communicate it to the world of today. May Almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!