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Engaging the Word: Sixth Sunday of Easter

Today’s readings highlight the role of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promises the disciples that even after he physically departs from this world, he will send the Holy Spirit to guide and protect the Church. The Holy Spirit will be our “Advocate,” someone working constantly on our behalf.

It is the presence of the Holy Spirit that makes the Church holy. Only because of the work of the Holy Spirit do the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus at Mass. Only because of the Holy Spirit are the sacraments effective. Only because of the Holy Spirit can we be confident that the teachings of the Church on faith and morals are true. Without the Holy Spirit, the Church would be just another social club or charitable organization. Furthermore, without the Holy Spirit the Church would have died out years ago. But instead, Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit would be with us always. We can take great confidence in the promise that no matter what opposition we face or what mistakes we make, God will never abandon his Church.

We all have a role to play in the work of the Spirit. In the Acts of the Apostles we see an early form of the sacrament of confirmation. This sacrament gives us the privilege and the responsibility to be instruments of the Holy Spirit.

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