Sixth Sunday of Easter
May 6, 2018 – Year B
Readings: Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48 / Ps 98 / 1 Jn 4:7-10 / Jn 15:9-17
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
Yesterday morning, ten of our young men and women here in Holy Name of Mary received the sacrament of Confirmation in a beautiful liturgy at St. Thomas More. Before they were confirmed, Bishop Knestout, during his homily, told them that the Lord Jesus will equip them with the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit as they continue to navigate a world that has been damaged by sin.
We’re all aware that the world as we know it, is far from a paradise. A recent study, published by the global health service company, Cigna, which was reported by CBS News just three days ago, found that many Americans are lonely, most especially the so-called “Z Generation.” Dr. Douglas Nemecek, the chief medical officer for behavioral health at Cigna, told CBS News that they have been hearing more and more from their customers and individuals calling them that they are feeling lonely, alone, and disconnected from others. Surprisingly, the study found loneliness affects younger Americans more than the elderly. Dr. Nemecek further explained that the use of social media did not impact loneliness. What that means is that even having ten thousand Facebook friends will not alleviate your sadness, but it is the meaningful in-person relationships that you have with other people that actually keep you from being lonely.
Today’s gospel gave us a sure-fire formula not only for overcoming loneliness, but on attaining joy in the complete sense of the word. The Lord Jesus said, “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete.” And the Lord Jesus made it clear that obeying His commandments is the way to complete joy. But the Lord knows that we cannot do it on our own. That is why He gave us the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation so we could receive the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit.
St. Paul pointed out in chapter five of his letter to the Galatians that one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is joy. Most people would say that joy is the absence of suffering, pain, and all sorts of problems. But the kind of joy that St. Paul is talking about can be felt even in the midst of trials and tribulations and the lives of the saints prove that this is possible. It is something which no one can take away from us. This is the type of joy which will not only last a lifetime, but for all eternity.