Homily by His Excellency Archbishop Selim Sfeir
Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus
3rd Sunday of Pentecost
Dear brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ,
- The Spirit teaches.
The Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, the Spirit of consolation. The Spirit is sent by the Father, in the name of the Son.
The Lord speaks to His disciples about the coming of the Advocate, the Holy Spirit: “The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I have said to you." (v. 26). If our affections for the Lord have cooled down, the Holy Spirit is here to remind us of the words of the Lord and revive our love for Him. He is also here to teach us everything. It is only by allowing ourselves to be guided by the Spirit that we can learn to know the Scriptures and enter into the knowledge of the "deep things of God," both in our individual lives and in the life of the community.
Let us be vigilant not to be distracted or divert by voices other than that of the Spirit of God. We need to be silent and listen to the whispers of the Spirit within each one of us. The essence of this mission is the love that drives us to keep the commandments of Jesus.
- If anyone loves me, he will keep my word.
To the great promises He had just made to His disciples, Jesus adds the explicit statement that communion with God's soul results from union with Him, Jesus: "We will come to him and make our home with him." God had established His visible dwelling in the midst of Israel; He had dwelt among His people through the Word made flesh. Now He promises to make each believer His dwelling, His tabernacle, His temple.
"If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him." It is left to our responsibility. To the extent that we love the Lord and obey Him, we enjoy communion with the Father and the riches associated with it.
Loving the Lord means listening to Him, opening our doors to Him, and obeying Him. This allows us to taste the blessed communion with Him.
- Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
The Savior, foreseeing all the difficulties and fears that may still assail the hearts of His disciples, imparts to them a supreme grace: He leaves them peace, as the most precious gift at His departure.
He has accomplished everything so that we may not be troubled, but rather enjoy peace with God and taste His peace.
Let us thank God for His gift of peace, which reminds us that we have been created to live this peace. Let us preach the peace of Christ as He did.
Let us follow the path of love, which has been the way of salvation for the great saints, and let us remind ourselves that the only peace for our hearts and lives is the one that Jesus gives. His Spirit reminds us of this, for the Lord knows that we are at risk of forgetting.
Lord, I need Your help to overcome anything in my life that contradicts my Christian vocation. Help me to be an artisan of peace around me. May Your Spirit guide me in my efforts and fill my heart with Your presence, so that I may set the world on fire with Your love.
† Selim Sfeir
Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus