Theme of the Sunday: The Promise of the Spirit. The main theme of today’s readings is Jesus’ promise to send the Paraclete, the Spirit of truth. The Spirit’s coming will be celebrated on the feast of Pentecost. Today’s gospel spells out how we should prepare to receive the Spirit. The second reading is a practical application of this teaching in the lives of persecuted Christians who know that the Paraclete will always be with them. The first reading shows the apostles calling down the Spirit in the imposition of hands.

Entrance Antiphon cr. 1s 48:20
Proclaim a joyful sound and let it be heard; proclaim to the ends of the earth: the Lord has freed his people, alleluia.

Collect
Grant, almighty God, that we may celebrate with heartfelt devotion these days of joy, which we keep in honour of the risen Lord, and that what we relive in remembrance we may always hold to in what we do. Through our Lord. .

FIRST READING
“They laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.”
A reading from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 8:5-8.14-17)

In those days: Philip went down to a city of Samaria, and proclaimed to them the Christ. And the multitudes with one accord gave heed to what was said by Philip, when they heard him and saw the signs which he did. For unclean spirits came out of many who were possessed, crying with a loud voice; and many who were paralysed or lame were healed. So there was much joy in that city. Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit; for the Spirit had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.
The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Ps 65: 1-3a.4-5.6-7a.16 and 20 (R. I)
R/. Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.

Cry out with joy to God, all the earth;
O sing to the glory of his name.
O render him glorious praise.
Say to God, “How awesome your deeds!” R/.

“Before you all the earth shall bow down,
shall sing to you, sing to your name!”
Come and see the works of God:
awesome his deeds among the children of men. R/.

R/. Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.

He turned the sea into dry land;
they passed through the river on foot.
Let our joy, then, be in him;
he rules forever by his might. R/.

Come and hear, all who fear God;
I will tell what he did for my soul.
Blest be God, who did not reject my prayer,
nor withhold from me his merciful love. R/.

SECOND READING
“Put to death in the flesh, he was made alive in the Spirit.”
A reading from the first Letter of Saint Peter (1 Peter 3 :15-18)

Beloved: In your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defence to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; and keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behaviour in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing right, if that should be God’s will, than for doing wrong. For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the Spirit.
The word of the Lord.

ALLELUIA John 14:23
Alleluia. If a man loves me, he will keep my word, says the Lord; and my Father will love him, and we will come to him. Alleluia.

GOSPEL
“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor. ”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (John l4: 15-21)

At that time: Jesus said to his disciples, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you. “I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
The Gospel of the Lord.

Today’s Reflection
In today’s first reading we see how the people of Samaria, experience the joy of receiving the good news through the ministry of Philip. They rejoiced that they came to know the true saviour. James and John strengthen them in their faith by laying hands and obtaining for them the power of the Holy Spirit. In today’s gospel Jesus promises the same Holy Spirit, the counsellor, to be with them for ever. The Counsellor is the spirit of truth. The Holy Spirit is the promise of the Lord as he departs from this world after fulfilling his mission. So a Christian is never left abandoned by God, but always lives in the Holy Triune God. St Peter, in the second reading advises the people to be ready to answer their adversaries with a defence of gentleness and reverence. This is the consequence of receiving the Holy Spirit. Lord, fill me with your Spirit of courage and joy.

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